Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2005

Main Text > Part II ODA DISBURSEMENTS IN FISCAL YEAR 2004 > Chapter 2 Details and New Policies about Japan's ODA: Striving for Further ODA Reforms > Section 5. Formulation and Implementation of ODA Policy > 2. Increasing Public Participation > (4) Information Disclosure and Public Relations

(4) Information Disclosure and Public Relations

ODA plays a big role in Japan's diplomacy. To that end, it is essential to gain widespread public understanding of and support for ODA. For this reason, the Government is working on a broader disclosure of information concerning ODA.

A. Vigorous Public Relations and Provision of Information within Japan

Specific measures to provide information concerning ODA and create opportunities for Japanese citizens to come into contact with ODA activities include the issuance of government publications such as the ODA White Paper and the Diplomatic Blue Book, as well as the following:

(i) ODA Home page and Mail Magazine

Designed to enhance disclosure of information, the ODA homepage of MOFA, as well as the ODA websites of JICA, JBIC, and other organizations relay timely information concerning ODA and provide introductions to ODA in easy-to-understand formats (http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/gaiko/oda (Japanese version)/ http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/oda (English version)).

In addition to the ODA homepage, MOFA also issues the ODA Mail Magazine. As of March 24, 2005, the ODA Mail Magazine had been issued 63 times. The magazine relays timely topics and information relating to economic cooperation and includes episodes written by Japanese embassy staff members, JOCVs, and Senior Volunteers about their actual experiences in the field, in addition to introducing ODA-related anecdotes. Anyone can receive the magazine by registering on the ODA website as needed. As of March 18, 2005, more than 10,262 people had registered.

(ii) ODA Town Meetings

As part of efforts to promote dialogue with the public, ODA town meetings are held at various places around the country to inform the public of how ODA reform is being carried out and to listen directly to the opinions of the general public regarding ODA and these reform efforts. By May 2005, 29 meetings had been held where frank discussions took place between experts, staff members of MOFA, and the general public.

ODA Town Meeting A Report from the Monitoring Group of Citizens at Global Festa JAPAN2005
ODA Town Meeting "A Report from the Monitoring Group of Citizens" at Global Festa JAPAN2005

Chart 38. ODA Town Meetings Held in FY2004

Chart 38. ODA Town Meetings Held in FY2004

(iii) Dispatch of ODA Monitors

Column 11 Observing ODA On-site

The aims of the Monitoring Group of Citizens on Japan's ODA are to promote a proper understanding of the significance and importance of ODA by dispatching monitors selected from the general public interested in ODA to ODA project sites, thereby giving them a firsthand opportunity to inspect Japan's ODA projects and to offer their views and impressions concerning ODA. This program was started in FY1999, and by FY2004 a total of 465 monitors had viewed 361 ODA projects in 22 developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Participants have reported, for example, that they have deepened their understanding of the role that ODA plays in the development and stability of developing countries and of the need for such assistance. The public's understanding of ODA is expected to continue to expand through this program.

B. Strengthening of the Dissemination of Information to the International Community

In addition to public relations within Japan, it is also important that Japan's active international contribution through ODA is properly understood and supported overseas.

In order to ensure that Japan's assistance is evaluated correctly overseas and to publicize the fact that each individual project was implemented through Japan's assistance, Japan has cooperated in interviews with the local press by such means as giving press releases at signing and handover ceremonies, attaching a Japanese flag sticker (in English and Arabic) and the Japanese ODA logo (in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic) to goods supplied through assistance, setting up signs, and so on. In FY2004, stickers displaying the national flags of Iraq and Japan were placed on water supply trucks provided by Japan to the water works in Iraq (Governorate of Al-Muthanna) along with stickers of a Japanese soccer-cartoon character (Captain Tsubasa) that has been very popular with local Iraqi children. These efforts were designed to make Japan's assistance activities widely known among Iraqi people who like soccer.

In order to publicize Japan's ODA policies and results widely to the people of the recipient country, Japan has promoted television programs that introduce Japan's ODA and broadcasts them via satellite networks. In FY2004, to mark Japan's 50 years of providing ODA, a television program entitled "Asia Tide" introducing Japan's assistance efforts in various fields was broadcast in the Asian region. Furthermore, Japanese embassies have arranged visits to Japan's ODA project sites for the local press and has created opportunities for the local media to gather information on Japan's ODA projects. Furthermore, overseas Japanese embassies disseminate information via various lectures, as well as websites and e-mail bulletins prepared in both English and the local language. Also, in cooperation with JICA and JBIC, Japanese embassies have prepared and distributed various public relations pamphlets concerning Japan's ODA. To the international community as well, including other donor countries, Japan is taking active measures to disseminate information through daily diplomatic efforts and international conferences, as well as through various symposiums, seminars, and websites.