Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2009

Chapter 2 Details about Japan's Official Development Assistance

Section 1 Assistance Relating to the Basic Policies of the ODA

The philosophy and principles regarding Japan's ODA policies are set forth in the Official Development Assistance Charter (hereinafter referred to as the "ODA Charter"). Under this Charter are the Medium-Term Policy on Official Development Assistance (Medium-Term ODA Policy), Japan's Country Assistance Programs, sector-specific development policies, a list of priority issues of international cooperation and region-specific priorities, and project development plans.

1. Official Development Assistance Charter

The ODA Charter, revised in August 2003, consists of "I. Philosophy," "II. Principle of ODA Implementation," "III. Formulation and Implementation of ODA Policy," and "IV. Reporting on the Status of Implementation of the Official Development Assistance Charter."

In the "I. Philosophy" section, the objectives of ODA are defined as "to contribute to the peace and development of the international community, and thereby to help ensure Japan's own security and prosperity." It indicates five basic policies for the achievement of these objectives: (1) "supporting self-help efforts of developing countries" based on good governance; (2) the perspective of "human security" for the implementation of support focused on individuals; (3) the "assurance of fairness" with consideration given to the socially vulnerable, particularly for improving the status of women; (4) the "utilization of Japan's experience and expertise" to make full use of its own experience in economic and social development when assisting the development of developing countries; and (5) "partnership and collaboration with the international community" with a view to pursuing collaboration with international organizations and other assistance providers including NGOs and the private sector. Based on these objectives and basic policies, Japan provides support focusing on the following priority issues: (1) "poverty reduction," (2) "sustainable growth," (3) "addressing global issues," and (4) "peace-building."

The "II. Principle of ODA Implementation" section stipulates that ODA is to be provided with full attention paid to balancing environment and development, preventing any use of ODA for military purposes, as well as to promoting the democratization of developing countries.

The "III. Formulation and Implementation of ODA Policy" section states that it is important to take a government-wide coherent and unified approach for ODA planning and implementation, and to improve the strategic value, flexibility, and efficiency of ODA. Since ODA is funded by taxpayers, this section specifies that the Government should strive to enhance public understanding of ODA.

The "IV. Reporting on the Status of Implementation of the Official Development Assistance Charter" section states that the Government will report the status of the aid implementation in this White Paper published every year. This is to clarify accountability of the implementation of ODA.

2. Japan's Medium-Term ODA Policy

The Medium-Term Policy on Official Development Assistance details Japan's positions, approaches, and specific actions centering on giving practical mapping to the ODA Charter. The latest revision took place in February 2005, listing specific items to be addressed under the three categories of (1) "perspective of human security"; (2) important issues of "poverty reduction," "sustainable growth," "addressing global issues," and "peace-building"; and (3) "measures to ensure the efficient and effective implementation of assistance."

3. Country Assistance Programs

Country Assistance Programs set out Japan's country assistance policy for next five years or so, based on the current status and major challenges of the recipient country and its developmental plans. It also outlines the significance of Japan's assistance to that country, the direction in which Japan should aim, and priority areas. Target countries are selected based on such factors as the volume of assistance, relevance to global developmental issues, regional balance, aid coordination, and strategic importance. These programs take into consideration opinions from the country-based ODA Task Force comprised of the Japanese diplomatic missions and JICA overseas offices in target countries.

4. Sector-Specific Development Policies

Japan formulates Sector-Specific Development Initiatives in order to strategically implement sector-specific assistance (Note 5) including health, education, water and sanitation, and environment based on the discussions in the international community. More specifically reflecting these policies in the formation of ODA projects, Japan implements assistance that is genuinely favorable to the recipient countries in the medium to long-term. Sector-specific development policies also play an important role to promote discussions in the international arena. Formulating sector-specific development policies in addition to the ODA Charter, Medium-Term ODA Policy, and Country Assistance Plans, further clarifies Japan's guiding principles of ODA and enhances the transparency of ODA.


(5) Including assistance for agriculture, disaster prevention, gender, improvement of legal systems, population movements, etc.

5. Priority Policy Issues for International Cooperation

Priority policy issues for international cooperation have been formulated each fiscal year since FY2007. They aim at clarifying and introducing priority matters in the formulation of projects in order to promptly respond to the progress of Japan's foreign policy and newly emerging development issues.

For FY2008, Japan set the following items as priority issues, taking into account its expected leadership in hosting and engaging in follow up work of the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) and the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in 2008 and follow-up works, and taking the opportunity of an intermediate year of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which have an achievement deadline of 2015:

(1)Supporting developing countries in regard to environmental and climate change problems,

(2)Supporting developing countries in regard to the problem of rising food prices

(3)Building, consolidating, and restoring peace

(4)Promoting economic growth in developing countries and economic prosperity in Japan

(5)Establishing human security and supporting the achievement of the MDGs from this perspective.

6. Rolling Plans

A "Rolling Plan" is a document made for each recipient country of Japan's ODA, to outline an overall picture of Japan's assistance to the country. In a Rolling Plan, basically all ongoing ODA projects are listed and classified according to country-specific priority areas, development issues, and programs. By utilizing this Rolling Plan, it is aimed to better employ different development assistance schemes (technical cooperation, grant aid, ODA loans, cooperation through international organizations, etc.) in an integrated manner when designing, planning, and implementing ODA projects. Japan shares Rolling Plans with its recipient countries with a view to further improving aid predictability.

Addressing Gender Issues through ODA

Socially-accepted ideas and social systems in developing countries are often formed based on the perspectives of men, and women are given weak standpoints in a variety of aspects. In order to achieve sustainable development in developing countries, it is necessary to encourage both men and women to equally participate in and benefit from development.

Japan states its emphasis on gender perspectives in its ODA Charter and Medium-Term ODA Policy. Based on these statements, Japan announced the Gender and Development (GAD) Initiative in 2005, as a concrete guideline to promote gender equality in development. The GAD Initiative clarifies Japan's basic ODA approach for the mainstreaming of gender (Note 6), and comprehensively shows specific efforts with gender perspectives on the priority issues in the ODA Charter, namely, poverty reduction, sustainable growth, addressing global issues, and peace-building.

In terms of support that gives particular attention to gender equality, from 2005 through 2008, Japan cooperated with Afghanistan's provincial women's offices that are outposts of the Ministry of Women's Affairs located in each province, and supported organizations and establishment of business by women. In order to enable the Ministry of Women's Affairs to provide support for women through the women's offices in each province, Japan surveyed and grasped the needs of women in each region, and worked on environmental improvements in order to promote economic activities by women, in collaboration with the relevant government agencies and other affiliated organizations. Furthermore, Japan provides support that gives particular attention to gender equality in collaboration with an international organization, such as the Japan-UNDP Partnership Fund which was established by Japan within the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


(6) Gender mainstreaming is a means of achieving gender equality in all areas. In the Initiative on GAD, "gender mainstreaming in development" is defined as "a process in which women's and men's development challenges and needs as well as development impacts on both men and women are clarified throughout the process of policy formulation, project planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation on the premise that all policies, interventions, and projects have different impacts on men and women."