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 > 2. South Asia

2. South Asia

Japan's bilateral ODA to South Asia in 2005 was approximately US$561.66 million, 5.4% of total bilateral ODA.

    South Asia is one of the poorest regions in the world with over 500 million people living in poverty. In addition to the poverty and population issues, the region is also plagued by low rates of primary school enrollment, inadequate health and medical care, and infectious diseases. Along with Africa, it poses the greatest challenges to the achievement of the MDGs. At the same time, however, countries that possess enormous latent potential are in the same region. First and foremost of these is India, which is the world's largest democracy and a country which shares values with Japan such as democracy, the market economy, and the rule of law. As such, the importance of this region is rising dramatically. Moreover, due to the issue of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missiles in India and Pakistan and its role as the frontline states in the fight against terrorism since the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks, this region has become one of the regions drawing the highest attention of the international community, including Japan.

    Chart II-27 Japan's Assistance Disbursements in the Southwest Asian Region

Chart II-27 Japan's Assistance Disbursements in the Southwest Asian Region

    At the same time, some countries in this region are faced with the challenges of establishing the rule of law, improving management of public finances, combating corruption, and promoting efficient and transparent administration. Therefore, in order to effectively reduce poverty in this region in the future, it is important to promote good governance in these countries and ensure appropriate institutions and policy environments for receiving assistance.

    On the basis of the ODA Charter, which puts poverty reduction as one of four priority issues, Japan will continue to place great importance on dealing with the poverty issue in this region and support activities favorable to the stability and development of the region, such as economic liberalization in each country and regional cooperation mainly in the economic sphere.

    For assisting poverty reduction and ensuring the livelihood of the poor, Japan has provided assistance mainly through grant aid cooperation particularly in LDCs like Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. Japan provides grant to these countries with emphasis on BHN sectors such as agriculture, shelter, and health and medical care, while coordinating with its technical cooperation.

    Moreover, Japan has been providing support for human resource development and social and economic infrastructure development intended to stimulate private sector activities and create a more attractive environment for foreign investment. With regard to human resource development through technical cooperation, assistance has thus far been carried out mainly in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal, and its scope has recently been expanded to also cover Pakistan. In April 2006 Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCVs) (as Japanese language instructors) were dispatched to India for the first time in the past 30 years.

    Assistance through yen loans and grant aid is provided for developing economic infrastructures such as electricity and transportation that will improve the trade and investment climate, and social infrastructures such as education, water supplies, and sewerage systems. For example, for three straight years from FY2003 to FY2005 India was the largest recipient of Japan's yen loans. Through the use of these yen loans India is implementing a number of projects, like the Purulia Pumped Storage Project (III) designed to eliminate the serious energy shortages in the State of West Bengal. Other projects include the Bangalore Metro Rail Project, which will construct a subway and aboveground and elevated metro rails to address the escalating traffic congestion and air pollution problems, as well as to vitalize industry and improve the urban environment in Bangalore, Karnataka; and the Hussain Sagar Lake and Catchment Area Improvement Project, which will implement measures like water purification projects by improving sewage and similar facilities to improve the living environment in the areas surrounding the lakes in central Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh (see Column I-1). Also, to Pakistan, Japan provided yen loans up to about ¥16.4 billion in August 2005, for the Lower Chenab Canal System Rehabilitation Project and the Load Dispatch System Upgrade Project. Furthermore, in January 2006 Japan provided up to approximately ¥11.2 billion in yen loans as emergency assistance for earthquake reconstruction.

    Regarding assistance for the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka, the Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka was held in June 2003. At this conference, donor countries and agencies demonstrated their will to extend over US$4.5 billion over four years. Japan also announced that it was prepared to extend a maximum of US$1 billion over three years with close monitoring of the progress of the peace process. Japan provided approximately US$750 million by FY2005. No peace talks have taken place since the sixth session, which was held in Hakone in March 2003. From the perspective of promoting the peace process, Japan has been implementing such projects as the Vavuniya-Kilinochchi Transmission Line Project, as well as the Mannar District Rehabilitation and Reconstruction through Community Approach Project (MANRECAP) with the objective of improving the living standards of residents in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, which have been torn by conflict for some 20 years.