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 > 6. Latin America and the Caribbean

6. Latin America and the Caribbean

Japan's bilateral ODA to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2005 was approximately US$415.02 million, about 4.0% of total bilateral ODA.

    The Latin American and Caribbean region is geographically remote from Japan. However, with immigrants from Japan and their descendants serving as a bridge, it is a region which has traditionally forged friendly ties with Japan. In addition, this region is an enormous market with a huge population and an economy which in size is two and a half times as large as that of ASEAN. It also has other advantages like abundant natural resources (iron ore, copper ore, crude oil, and natural gas) and food production capacities (meat, soybeans, etc.). As such, this region is strategically important in supporting the prosperity of the Asian economic zone, including Japan. What is more, as regional integration (the Central American Integration System [SICA], Mercado Común del Sur [MERCOSUR],50 the Caribbean Community [CARICOM],51 and the Andean Community [CAN]) has been advancing at a brisk pace within Latin America and the Caribbean in recent years, it has been clearly seen that the region's influence is growing and economic activities are increasing. Dynamic development is seen in relation with countries outside of the region such as the United States, the European Union (EU), and China, as they are actively pursuing building economic relations with the region with the aim of strengthening economic ties.

    In this situation, Japan announced "A Vision for a New Japan-Latin America and Caribbean Partnership" in September 2004 on the occasion of the visit of the then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Brazil and Mexico. In addition, the Tokyo Declaration and Action Plan were adopted at the Japan-Central America Summit Meeting held in August 2005. With the countries in the Caribbean region, Japan has the "New Framework for Japan-CARICOM Cooperation For the Twenty-First Century," as well as the Japan-CARICOM Consultation which is held almost annually (the eleventh consultation was held in February 2006). Through these approaches, Japan aims for stable economic growth of the Latin American and Caribbean region by advancing cooperation for strengthening economic relations, assistance for infrastructural integration that is conducive to a better investment climate, and formulating projects which bring about region-wide benefits. At the same time, Japan has been working to help resolve the region's economic and social structural issues, alleviate poverty and redress economic disparities. In addition, Japan intends to address environmental issues, which are global issues, as well as work toward disaster prevention. Japan intends to provide active assistance to the region, while strengthening collaboration with other donors and using South-South cooperation so as to ensure effective and efficient implementation of ODA.

    Chart II-31 Japan's Assistance Disbursements in the Latin America

Chart II-31 Japan's Assistance Disbursements in the Latin America

Cooperation for Strengthening Economic Relations

Japan believes that the activities of Japanese enterprises in the region, which possesses abundant resources and whose economic opportunities are expanding, are indispensable for the prosperity of Japan. Due to this belief, Japan intends to continue providing support for improving the business environment and developing infrastructure, among other assistance.

    In particular, the Japan-Mexico Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) came into force in April 2005. In accordance with the EPA, the parties held the Committee for the Improvement of the Business Environment, and Japan is providing assistance in such areas as developing supporting industries and assisting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Cooperation for Infrastructural Integration in Latin America and the Caribbean

In the Latin American and Caribbean region the regional integration initiatives such as the Plan Puebla Panama (PPP), in the Central America region, and the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA) are making progress. Japan has been providing cooperation for these initiatives. For the PPP in particular, Japan intends to provide assistance for projects to improve roads and bridges to remove hindrances to transport and distribution. Specifically, in FY2005 the Project for the Reconstruction of Las Hormigas Bridge (Honduras) was implemented. In addition, the implementation of the Project for the Construction of the Japan-Central America Friendship Bridge was approved as a project for FY2006. This is a project to improve the roads and bridges that go across the Honduras-El Salvador border. Assistance was proactively provided in regard to IIRSA as well, such as the provision of yen loans to Paraguay for the Yguazu Hydropower Station Construction Project in FY2005.

Promotion of Region-wide Cooperation

The Latin American and Caribbean region faces common developmental challenges that are shared in the region. From the viewpoint of effectively and efficiently utilizing its aid resources, Japan formulates projects that benefit multiple countries by addressing the common transnational development challenges. In Central America, on the basis of the Initiative for Central American Cooperation Network and Special Courses for Capacity Building in Central America, Japan has proactively worked toward eradicating Chagas disease, which is an endemic disease found throughout the Central American region. After this effect started in Guatemala in 2002, the target region expanded in 2004 to include El Salvador and Honduras as well. Japan also collaborates with other donors in its fight against Chagas disease, providing assistance together with aid organizations from the United States and Canada. Another example of region-wide cooperation is the highly acclaimed Project for the Improvement of Teaching Methods in Mathematics (PROMETAM), which was implemented in Honduras in 2003 for raising the basic academic ability of the region, and has been expanded to Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic.

    For CARICOM, Japan dispatches experts in the field of fisheries. In addition to which, the Development Study for the Formulation of a Master Plan for Development and Management of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the Caribbean is scheduled to be initiated in FY2006. This will be the first region-wide development study, with CARICOM being the counterpart organization.

    Japan has also conducted region-wide cooperation with entities like MERCOSUR and CAN. For MERCOSUR, the Study on Improvement of Packaging Technology for Merchandise Distribution in MERCOSUR and the MERCOSUR Tourism Promotion Project were implemented. As for CAN, Japan conducted training for Medical Management in Disaster to accept trainees from countries within the region. It also implemented the Program to Strengthen the Network within the Andean Community and has continuously worked toward creating networks within this region in areas such as technology transfers and vocational training.

Assistance to Resolve Economic and Social Structural Issues, Alleviate Poverty and Redress Economic Disparities; Responses to Global Issues

In Latin America and the Caribbean there are segments of society which have not been able to receive education due to poverty, as well as groups of people that could threaten the sound development of the region and cause political instability (armed youth gangs [maras], surrendered former guerilla soldiers, etc.). Japan provides assistance for education and vocational training with a view to integrating these people into society, as well as proactive assistance in the area of public security. In 2005 the implementation of Vocational Training and Entrepreneurial Assistance for the Families of Surrendered Soldiers in Colombia was approved. In the area of the environment, Japan provides assistance for the preservation of the Amazon's tropical rainforests and assistance in the water sector.