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 3. Assistance for Each Region > 1. East Asia
1. East Asia
Japan's bilateral ODA to East Asia in 2005 was approximately US$3,068.52 million, 24.3% of total bilateral ODA.
East Asian countries have a close interdependent relationship with Japan in all aspects including politics, economy, and culture. As such, the development and stability of the East Asia region has great significance for the safety and prosperity of Japan. Japan has supported economic infrastructure development in the region through ODA, and facilitated private sector investment and trade through means such as enhancing economic partnerships. Through these measures Japan has thus far contributed to the remarkable development in the East Asia region by advancing economic cooperation that coordinates ODA with investment and trade. The ODA Charter continues to designate Asia as a priority region.
Chart II-25 Japan's Assistance Disbursements in the East Asian Region
East Asia has attained rapid economic growth, and some countries, such as the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Singapore, have already been transformed from aid recipients into donors. On the other hand, there are still some least developed countries (LDCs) within East Asia, such as Cambodia and Laos. There are also countries like China, which still has internal disparities even though its economy has grown dramatically in recent years, or Viet Nam, which is in the process of transitioning from a centrally-planned economy to a market economy. In extending assistance, Japan fully takes into account such diversity in socio-economic conditions and changes in the respective assistance needs in each country.
On December 14, 2005 the First East Asia Summit (EAS) was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the East Asia Summit was adopted at this summit. The participants decided to hold the EAS again in the future in order to conduct dialogues on a variety of broad-ranging strategic, political, and economic issues. These dialogues will be based on universal values and global norms and be aimed at promoting peace, stability, and economic prosperity in East Asia. At the summit, Japan indicated that the EAS should be developed into a forum for holding strategic discussions from a broad viewpoint regarding the ideals and principles of regional cooperation and responses to common challenges. It also declared that if cooperation were advanced and a sense of solidarity fostered among the member countries concerning various issues like avian influenza, terrorism, and measures to combat piracy, then the EAS would be able to play an important role in building an East Asian community.
At the Japan-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit held on December 13, 2005, Japan announced that it would contribute ¥7.5 billion for efforts toward the building of the ASEAN Community (following which the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund was established in March 2006). In addition, Japan announced assistance of US$135 million, including the provision of vaccines (Tamiflu) for 500,000 people in the ASEAN region, for avian influenza countermeasures in Asia. It also announced its continued cooperation in such fields as the fights against transnational crime and terrorism, strengthening disaster prevention, and promoting personal exchanges, and these measures for cooperation have been steadily implemented. ASEAN expresses its appreciation and welcome for the cooperation from Japan.
At the Second Japan-CLV (Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam) Summit held on December 13, Japan announced that in FY2005 it would provide assistance for 16 projects totaling about ¥2 billion in the "CLV Development Triangle," which lies across the bordering areas of the three CLV countries. Assistance for the Development Triangle was requested by the CLV countries at the Summit in March 2004 and the said projects were primarily in Basic Human Needs (BHN) like education and primary health care. The CLV leaders, who have a particularly high interest in narrowing the development gaps in the ASEAN region, expressed their appreciation toward this initiative by Japan.
A meeting of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam (CLV) and Japan
Japan provides assistance to ASEAN countries in the field of labor as well. Specifically, Japan convened a council for project implementation in cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat to build sound labor and management relations. It also implemented joint seminars consisting of the three parties of government, labor, and management, as well as capacity development workshops and country-by-country seminars. Regarding the country-by-country seminars in particular, Japan selects methods tailored to the actual conditions of the target country, such as dispatching Japanese experts and giving lectures for ASEAN's less developed member countries. Such efforts have further increased the effectiveness of this project from the perspective of correcting intra-regional disparities.
To strengthen food security it is crucial that an information infrastructure related to the issue be set in place. In FY2005 ASEAN regional workshops and country-by-country seminars were conducted, and lectures and guidance related to developing statistical information were provided in order to foster human resources concerned with statistical information for food and agriculture. However, in the ASEAN region there are significant differences in the state of development for agricultural statistics among the countries, and delays can clearly be seen in terms of human resources and technology, particularly among the LDCs. This has caused difficulties in the implementation of the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS),48 which is being promoted in the region as a whole. To respond to this, for instance in FY2005 Japan invited officials from Myanmar to Japan and jointly developed programs to improve the capabilities of human resources in terms of agricultural statistics while conducting training and instruction meetings. Through this Japan assisted in establishing a foundation for fostering the human resources that will take charge of agricultural statistics operations. In addition, in order to strengthen food security in East Asia region and alleviate poverty, Japan released stockpiled rice in Eastern Java of Indonesia and implemented a poverty alleviation project in Laos under "the Pilot Project for Emergency Stockpiling of Rice in East Asia."
Training by the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS) (Photo: AFSIS Project Office)
ODA to China
Japan's ODA to China has assisted the infrastructure development of China's coastal areas, environmental measures, improvement in the BHN sectors including health and medical care, and human resource development, among other efforts that contribute to the steady development of the Chinese economy. As such, Japan's ODA has played a significant role in promoting and sustaining China's reform and open-door policies. Such ODA to China can be valued as having supported the development of economic relations between Japan and China, and having supported the multilayered Japan-China relationship as one of the main pillars of Japan-China relations. Regarding this point, the representatives of China, including those at the summit-level, have expressed their gratitude on many occasions.
As the Chinese economy has grown over recent years, the need for yen loans, which account for a large portion of ODA to China, has relatively declined. In light of this situation, at the Japan-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting in April 2005 both Japan and China came to a shared understanding regarding ending the provision of new yen loans by the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. At present, working-level discussions are being held regarding the details of this arrangement.
Chart II-26 Trends in Yen Loans to China
On the other hand, environmental issues and infectious diseases in China have become global issues that have the potential to directly affect Japan as well. Including these issues, the people of Japan and China face many common challenges. Moreover, increasing the mutual understanding between the people of Japan and China has also become an important challenge from the view of facilitating the sound development of Japan-China relations.
In light of this situation, grant aid is currently being implemented with its focus narrowed to: (1) areas conducive to resolving common challenges faced by the people of Japan and China such as the environment and infectious diseases, and (2) areas conducive to promoting mutual understanding and increasing exchanges between Japan and China. Moreover, technical cooperation through people-to-people exchanges is an important means for transmitting Japanese values and culture to China. As such, in addition to the above mentioned areas, technical cooperation is also being used to carry out projects which are conducive to transitioning to a market economy and observing international rules, promoting good governance, and overcoming poverty.
Furthermore, at the second meeting of the Overseas Economic Cooperation Council in June 2006 discussions were held over economic cooperation to China, including the provision of yen loans in FY2005. In the future as well, economic cooperation to China must be implemented on the basis of proper judgment from a comprehensive and strategic viewpoint, the whole Japan-China relations and the circumstances surrounding China, should be taken into consideration, and cooperation should be extended in a manner that is consistent with the national interests of Japan itself.