Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2006

Main Text > Part II ODA DISBURSEMENTS IN FISCAL YEAR 2005 > Chapter 2 Details about Japan's ODA > Section 2. Measures for Each of the Priority Issues > 2. Sustainable Growth > (3) Human Resources Development

(3) Human Resources Development

As it is said that "nation building starts from human resource developments," support for human resource development is one of the important pillars of Japan's assistance. Assistance for human resource development does not only encompass the fostering of personnel who will directly contribute to the development of developing countries: it also plays a major role in enhancing bilateral relationships by promoting mutual understanding through person-to-person exchanges and establishing personal relations among leaders in various sectors including youths who will lead the future of the developing countries. Assistance for human resource development is also an extremely important factor in strengthening ownership of developing countries, which is one of the fundamental principles of Japan's ODA.

    To foster human resources that will take part in development processes it is essential to promote assistance not only in primary education, but also in various other educational opportunities such as higher education, vocational training, and practical training in areas such as administration. Japan provides assistance in human resources development mainly through technical cooperation to accept foreign students, improve the capabilities and functions of higher educational institutions, develop the capacities of administrators, develop and enhance of vocational skills, improve occupational safety and health, and strengthen industrial competitiveness. Moreover, for personnel training, information and communication technology (ICT) is often used to provide high-quality assistance at a lower cost.16

    Based on the Plan to Accept 100,000 Foreign Students,17 Japan has advanced various policies related to accepting foreign students, including systematic development of programs to accept government-sponsored foreign students, support for privately-financed overseas students, promotion of mutual exchanges among overseas students, and the strengthening of education and research guidance given to foreign students. The goal of accepting 100,000 students was achieved in May 2003: as of May 2005 the total number of foreign students that were accepted in Japan was 121,812. In the future, based on the report submitted by the Central Council for Education in December 2003, Japan will promote further exchanges through efforts both in the areas of accepting foreign students and supporting Japanese students going abroad, and at the same time actively work on policies to secure and improve the quality of students.

    Chart II-15 Changes in the Number of Foreign Students in Japan

Chart II-15 Changes in the Number of Foreign Students in Japan

    Furthermore, Japan provides financial assistance to support projects for dispatching students overseas from developing countries in order to foster human resource development through Grant Aid for Scholarship Program (grant aid) and yen loans.

    Assistance in higher education includes: development of higher education facilities such as colleges in developing countries; support in improving operation and management capabilities; enhancement of training capabilities; enhancement of coordination with the business circle; and developing regional networks among higher education institutions that extend beyond national borders. For example, in Kenya Japan has set up the African Institute for Capacity Development (AICAD) on the campus of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology which received assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). AICAD is designed to become a leading institute in the area of human resource development that contributes to economic and social development and poverty reduction. Now the AICAD is mainly engaged in the three functions of research and development; disseminating training; and providing information. Having already entered the second phase, the AICAD is improving its function as a base for human resource development. It has established a resource center to share information as a base of human resource development. It covering the three countries of Kenya as the key country, along with Tanzania and Uganda. AICAD has also established a management system to assist research and development activities. Likewise, in Indonesia preparation has begun for technical cooperation projects at the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology and Gadja Mada University. The projects are designed to enhance the research capabilities in the area of ICT, which command extensive needs in developing countries, and promote relevant coordination among the government, academia and industry.

    For technological education and vocational skill development, Japan has been extending cooperation aimed at enhancing the quality of vocational training and implementing training programs that match the needs of the labor market. In FY2005 Japan carried out technical cooperation projects in Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Turkey, Senegal, Paraguay, and other countries. In post-conflict countries such as Afghanistan and Eritrea, Japan cooperated for vocational training for former soldiers who were demobilized from the army (see Column II-6 for details on the case of Eritrea).

    Another area of cooperation involving the development of human resources is assistance in enhancing industrial competitiveness, where Japan has been cooperating in the promotion of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and development of mineral resources. In recent years such efforts have come to include management techniques, such as building institutional foundation for industries and management skills of productivity improvement, as well as environment and energy-related cooperation, the needs for which have been increased with the advance of industrialization. Moreover, to promote trade and investment, Japan extends assistance through the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and the Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship (AOTS). Activities by both bodies include dispatching experts in various fields and accepting trainees, as well as organizing seminars. Other initiatives in place include assistance in human resource development aiming at institutional improvements in the following areas: protection of intellectual property rights, standards and authentication, efficiency of product distribution, the environment and energy conservation, and development of industrial human resources.

    In the area of the improvement of occupational safety and health, Japan conducted the Project for the Capacity Building of National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health in Malaysia to develop human resources and necessary facilities. This project contributed to a wide range of relevant areas in Malaysia including the work environment, human engineering, and health management. Moreover, as for assistance in the area of labor, Japan seeks to help companies in Asia's developing countries to improve personnel and labor management and develop capacities in this aspect. In FY2005, Japan conducted training courses for mid-tier corporate officials in charge of personnel and labor management in Asia's developing countries, as well as for workplace leaders in China and Mongolia.

    Moreover, as a way of providing support for the reform efforts of developing countries toward introducing a market economy, Japan has established in a number of countries Japan Center,18 whose main objective is to develop human resources engaged in economy and business. So far such centers have been set up in Laos, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, and Mongolia, along with the latest one in Cambodia which opened in February 2006. Thus, such centers are now running in seven countries, while another one in Myanmar is slated to open. Furthermore, as a way to eliminate the disparities among ASEAN countries, the Human Resources Centre for International Cooperation is currently implementing the ASEAN Japan Collaboration Programme for Human Resources Development (for CLMV member countries), which assists in establishing the infrastructure for human resource development in those countries which have joined ASEAN recently, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Viet Nam, or the CLMV countries, as dubbed by their acronyms. The centre also promotes technical cooperation related to human resource development between the CLMV countries and the other ASEAN countries. In FY2005 the centre held training courses in Japan and Thailand in aiming to promote vocational capacity development and employment of the handicapped. The training courses are designed to help expand vocational training opportunities for the handicapped and their employment rate, and these issues are expected to be addressed in each participant country.

Human Resources Centre for International Cooperation, Cambodia (Photo: JICA)
Human Resources Centre for International Cooperation, Cambodia (Photo: JICA)

    Furthermore, in order to enhance international cooperation for the preservation of cultural property in the Asia Pacific region, Japan also promotes the collection and provision of information related to cultural property preservation. Japan also holds training courses for the preservation of cultural property.