Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2013

Section 2 Japan’s Policy on Official Development Assistance

(1) The ODA Charter (approved by Cabinet decision in August 2003)

Revision of Japan’s Official Development Assistance Charter

August 29, 2003
Cabinet Decision

Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) Charter, approved by the Cabinet in 1992, has been the foundation of Japan’s aid policy for more than 10 years. The world has changed dramatically since the Charter was first approved, and today there is an urgent need for the international community, including Japan, to address new development challenges such as peacebuilding. Faced with these new challenges, many developed countries are strengthening their ODA policy, to deal with the serious problems that developing countries face. At the same time, not only governments and international organizations, but many other stakeholders are also assisting developing countries.

All stakeholders engaged in development assistance are strengthening their mutual collaboration. In line with the spirit of the Japanese Constitution, Japan will vigorously address these new challenges to fulfill its responsibilities commensurate with its national strength and its standing in the international community. In this regard, it is important to have public support for ODA. It is essential to effectively implement ODA, fully taking into account the domestic economic and fiscal situation as well as the views of the Japanese people.

Against this background, the Government of Japan has revised the ODA Charter, with the aim of enhancing the strategic value, flexibility, transparency, and efficiency of ODA. The revision also has the aim of encouraging wide public participation and of deepening the understanding of Japan’s ODA policies both within Japan and abroad.

Japan’s Official Development Assistance Charter

I. Philosophy: Objectives, Policies, and Priorities

1. Objectives

The objectives of Japan’s ODA are to contribute to the peace and development of the international community, and thereby to help ensure Japan’s own security and prosperity.

Taking advantage of Japan’s experience as the first nation in Asia to become a developed country, Japan has utilized its ODA to actively support economic and social infrastructure development, human resource development, and institution building. Consequently, Japan has significantly contributed to the economic and social development of developing countries, especially in East Asia.

Amid the post-Cold War advancement of globalization, the international community presently finds itself in a new environment, grappling with a multiplicity of problems such as the gap between the rich and the poor; ethnic and religious conflicts; armed conflicts; terrorism; suppression of freedom, human rights, and democracy; environmental problems; infectious diseases; and gender issues.

In particular, humanitarian problems, such as extreme poverty, famine, refugee crises, and natural disasters, as well as global issues such as those related to the environment and water, are important issues that need to be addressed in order for the international community as a whole to achieve sustainable development. These problems are cross border issues that present a grave threat to each and every human being.

Furthermore, conflicts and terrorism are occurring more frequently and they are becoming even more serious issues. Preventing conflicts and terrorism, and efforts to build peace, as well as efforts to foster democratization, and to protect human rights and the dignity of individuals have become major issues inherent to the stability and development of the international community.

Japan, as one of the world’s leading nations, is determined to make best use of ODA to take the initiative in addressing these issues. Such efforts will in turn benefit Japan itself in a number of ways, including by promoting friendly relations and people-to-people exchanges with other countries, and by strengthening Japan’s standing in the international arena.

In addition, as nations deepen their interdependence, Japan, which enjoys the benefits of international trade and is heavily dependent on the outside world for resources, energy and food, will proactively contribute to the stability and development of developing countries through its ODA. This correlates closely with assuring Japan’s security and prosperity and promoting the welfare of its people. In particular, it is essential that Japan make efforts to enhance economic partnership and vitalize exchange with other Asian countries with which it has particularly close relations.

Japan aspires for world peace. Actively promoting the aforementioned efforts with ODA, and manifesting this posture both at home and abroad is the most suitable policy for gaining sympathy and support from the international community for Japan’s position.
Therefore, Japan’s ODA will continue to play an important role in the years to come.

2. Basic Policies

In order to achieve the objectives outlined above, Japan will carry out ODA even more strategically, in accordance with the following basic policies.

(1) Supporting Self-help Efforts of Developing Countries

The most important philosophy of Japan’s ODA is to support the self-help efforts of developing countries based on good governance, by extending cooperation for their human resource development, institution building including development of legal systems, and economic and social infrastructure building, which constitute the basis for these countries’ development. Accordingly, Japan respects ownership by developing countries, and places priorities on their own development strategies.

In carrying out the above policy, Japan will give priority to assisting developing countries that make active efforts to pursue peace, democratization, and the protection of human rights, as well as structural reform in the economic and social spheres.

(2) Perspective of “Human Security”

In order to address direct threats to individuals such as conflicts, disasters, infectious diseases, it is important not only to consider the global, regional, and national perspectives, but also to consider the perspective of human security, which focuses on individuals. Accordingly, Japan will implement ODA to strengthen the capacity of local communities through human resource development. To ensure that human dignity is maintained at all stages, from the conflict stage to the reconstruction and development stages, Japan will extend assistance for the protection and empowerment of individuals.

(3) Assurance of Fairness

In formulating and implementing assistance policies, Japan will take steps to assure fairness. This should be achieved by giving consideration to the condition of the socially vulnerable, and the gap between the rich and the poor as well as the gap among various regions in developing countries. Furthermore, great attention will be paid with respect to factors such as environmental and social impact on developing countries of the implementation of ODA. In particular, the perspective of gender equality is important. Japan will make further efforts to improve the status of women, giving full consideration to the active participation of women in development, and to ensuring that women reap benefits from development.

(4) Utilization of Japan’s Experience and Expertise

Japan will utilize it’s own experience in economic and social development as well as in economic cooperation when assisting the development of developing countries, fully taking into account the development policies and assistance needs of developing countries. Japan will also utilize its advanced technologies, expertise, human resource, and institutions.

Implementation of ODA will be coordinated with key Japanese policies to ensure policy coherence, taking into consideration implications for Japan’s economy and society.

(5) Partnership and Collaboration with the International Community

Mainly with the initiative of international organizations, the international community is sharing more common development goals and strategies and various stakeholders are increasingly coordinating their aid activities. Japan will participate in this process, and endeavor to play a leading role. In parallel with such efforts, Japan will pursue collaboration with United Nations organizations, international financial institutions, other donor countries, NGOs, private companies, and other entities. In particular, Japan will enhance collaboration with international organizations that possess expertise and political neutrality, and will endeavor to ensure that Japan’s policies are reflected appropriately in the management of those organizations.

In addition, Japan will actively promote South-South cooperation in partnership with more advanced developing countries in Asia and other regions. Japan will also strengthen collaboration with regional cooperation frameworks, and will support region-wide cooperation that encompasses several countries.

3. Priority Issues

In accordance with the objectives and basic policies set out above, the following are Japan’s priority issues.

(1) Poverty Reduction

Poverty reduction is a key development goal shared by the international community, and is also essential for eliminating terrorism and other causes of instability in the world. Therefore, Japan will give high priorities to providing assistance to such sectors as education, health care and welfare, water and sanitation and agriculture, and will support human and social development in the developing countries. At the same time, sustainable economic growth, increase in employment, and improvement in the quality of life are indispensable for realizing poverty reduction and Japan places importance on providing assistance for these issues accordingly.

(2) Sustainable Growth

In order to invigorate developing countries’ trade and investment, as well as people-to-people exchanges, and to support sustainable growth, Japan will place importance on providing assistance for the development of socioeconomic infrastructure — a key factor for economic activity, and also for policy-making, the development of institutions, and human resource development. This will include (i) cooperation in the field of trade and investment including the appropriate protection of intellectual property rights and standardization, (ii) cooperation in the field of information and communications technology (ICT), (iii) the acceptance of exchange students, and (iv) cooperation for research.

In addition, Japan will endeavor to ensure that its ODA, and its trade and investment, which exert a substantial influence on the development of recipient countries, are carried out in close coordination, so that they have the overall effect of promoting growth in developing countries. To that end, Japan will make efforts to enhance coordination between Japan’s ODA and other official flows such as trade insurance and import and export finance. At the same time, private-sector economic cooperation will be promoted, making full use of private-sector vitality and funds.

(3) Addressing Global Issues

As for global issues such as global warming and other environmental problems, infectious diseases, population, food, energy, natural disasters, terrorism, drugs, and international organized crime, further efforts must be given immediately and in a coordinated manner by the international community. Japan will address these issues through ODA and will play an active role in the creation of international norms.

(4) Peace-building

In order to prevent conflicts from arising in developing regions, it is important to comprehensively address various factors that cause conflicts. As part of such undertakings, Japan will carry out ODA to achieve poverty reduction and the correction of disparities, as referred to above. In addition to assistance for preventing conflicts and emergency humanitarian assistance in conflict situations, Japan will extend bilateral and multilateral assistance flexibly and continuously for peace-building in accordance with the changing situation, ranging from assistance to expedite the ending of conflicts to assistance for the consolidation of peace and nation-building in post-conflict situations.

For example, ODA will be used for: assistance to facilitate the peace processes; humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance, such as assistance for displaced persons and for the restoration of basic infrastructure; assistance for assuring domestic stability and security, including disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of ex-combatants (DDR), and the collection and disposal of weapons, including demining; and assistance for reconstruction, including social and economic development and the enhancement of the administrative capabilities of governments.

4. Priority Regions

In light of the objectives stated above, Asia, a region with a close relationship to Japan and which can have a major impact on Japan’s stability and prosperity, is a priority region for Japan. However, Japan will strategically prioritize assistance to Asian countries, fully taking into account the diversity of the Asian countries’ socioeconomic conditions and changes in their respective assistance needs. In particular, the East Asian region which includes ASEAN is expanding and deepening economic interdependency and has been making efforts to enhance its regional competitiveness by maintaining economic growth and strengthening integration in recent years. ODA will be utilized to forge stronger relations with this region and to rectify disparities in the region, fully considering such factors as the strengthening of economic partnership with East Asian countries.

Also, Japan will give due consideration to the large population of impoverished people in South Asia. With respect to Central Asia and the Caucasus region, assistance will be provided to promote democratization and transition to market economies.

Japan will prioritize its assistance for other regions on the basis of the objectives, basic policies, and priority issues set out in this Charter, giving consideration to the needs for assistance and the state of development in each region.

Africa has a large number of least developed countries, and is affected by conflicts and serious development issues, amid which self-help efforts are being stepped up. Japan will provide assistance for these efforts.

The Middle East is an important region for energy supply and for the peace and stability of the international community, but it has destabilizing factors including the situation of Middle East peace process. Japan will provide assistance towards social stability and the consolidation of peace.

Latin America includes countries that are relatively well developed, but also island nations with fragile economies. Taking into consideration the disparities arising within the region as well as within countries, Japan will extend the necessary cooperation.

With respect to Oceania, assistance will be provided, as there are numerous vulnerable island nations.

II. Principle of ODA Implementation

In line with the philosophy set out above, Japan’s ODA will be provided by comprehensively taking into account developing countries’ need for assistance, socio-economic conditions, and Japan’s bilateral relations with the recipient country, and ODA will be provided in accordance with the principles of the United Nations (especially sovereign equality and non-intervention in domestic matters) as well as the following points:
(1) Environmental conservation and development should be pursued in tandem.
(2) Any use of ODA for military purposes or for aggravation of international conflicts should be avoided.
(3) Full attention should be paid to trends in recipient countries’ military expenditures, their development and production of weapons of mass destruction and missiles, their export and import of arms, etc., so as to maintain and strengthen international peace and stability, including the prevention of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and from the viewpoint that developing countries should place appropriate priorities in the allocation of their resources on their own economic and social development.
(4) Full attention should be paid to efforts for promoting democratization and the introduction of a market-oriented economy, and the situation regarding the protection of basic human rights and freedoms in the recipient country.

III. Formulation and Implementation of ODA Policy

1. System of Formulation and Implementation of ODA Policy

(1) Coherent Formulation of ODA Policy

In order to ensure that the government in its entirety implements ODA efficiently and effectively in a unified and coherent manner pursuant to this Charter, medium-term ODA policies and country assistance programs will be formulated, taking into account the partnership and collaboration with the international community referred to in the Basic Policies and ODA policies will be formulated and implemented in accordance with them. Country assistance programs will be drawn up for major recipient countries, and will set out explicitly the points to which priority is to be given, based on Japan’s aid policy, and reflecting the recipient countries’ true assistance needs.

In accordance with these medium-term ODA policies and country assistance programs, various methods of assistance ––financial cooperation in the form of loans and grants, and technical cooperation –– will be linked together effectively so as to take full advantage of the characteristics of each method. At the same time, Japan will be mindful of the balance between hardware type cooperation such as construction and provision of equipment, and software type cooperation such as technical cooperation and institution building. Each method will be reviewed appropriately.

(2) Collaboration among Related Government Ministries and Agencies

In order to ensure that the government as a whole formulates and implements policies in a unified and coherent manner, under the auspices of the Council of Overseas Economic Cooperation-Related Ministers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will play the central coordinating role in strengthening broad collaboration between the ODA-related government ministries and agencies, including by means of personnel exchanges and by utilizing the expertise of those related ministries and agencies. For this purpose, the government ministries and agencies will actively use consultation for a such as the Inter-Ministerial Meeting on ODA.

(3) Collaboration between Government and Implementing Agencies

While making clear the roles of the government and the implementing agencies (the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation) and the apportionment of responsibilities among them, collaboration will be strengthened, including by means of personnel exchanges to ensure an organic linkage between the government and the implementing agencies. In addition, implementing agencies will strengthen their mutual collaboration.

(4) Strengthening of Policy Consultation

In formulating and implementing assistance policies, it is essential to fully grasp the development policies and assistance needs of developing countries by engaging actively in policy consultation before requests are made by developing countries. At the same time, Japan will set out its assistance policies to the developing countries through dialogue, and the development policies of developing countries and Japan’s assistance policy will be reconciled in order to maximize the effect of Japan’s aid within those developing countries’ development strategies. Furthermore, Japan will support efforts by developing countries to improve their policies and systems, including the ability to formulate and implement assistance projects. Japan will also take into consideration whether such efforts by the developing countries are sufficient in the formulation and implementation of ODA.

(5) Strengthening the Functions of Field Missions in the Policy-making Process and Implementation

The functions of field missions (primarily overseas diplomatic missions and offices of implementing agencies) will be strengthened, so that they will be able to play a leading role in the policy-making process and in implementation. In particular, steps will be taken to develop a framework for strengthening the system, including through the use of outside personnel. Japan will also make efforts to make comprehensive and accurate assessments of developing countries’ development policies and assistance needs, primarily at the local level. Japan will comprehensively identify local socioeconomic conditions and other aspects through local interested parties.

(6) Collaboration with Aid-related Entities

Collaboration with Japanese NGOs, universities, local governments, economic organizations, labor organizations, and other related stakeholders will be strengthened to facilitate their participation in ODA and to utilize their technologies and expertise. Japan will also seek to collaborate with similar entities overseas, particularly in developing countries. In addition, in the implementation of ODA, appropriate use will be made of the technologies and expertise of Japanese private companies.

2. Increasing public participation

(1) Broad Participation by Japanese Citizens from All Walks of Life

The government will take measures to foster participation in assistance activities by Japanese citizens from all walks of life, and to promote these citizens’ interaction with developing countries. Such measures will include providing sufficient information, listening to public opinion, soliciting proposals for ODA activities, and extending cooperation to volunteer activities.

(2) Human Resource Development and Development Research

The government will make efforts to foster aid personnel with the necessary expertise and to increase the opportunities for aid personnel to be active both within Japan and overseas. In parallel with these efforts, high-quality personnel, such as persons with considerable overseas experience and extensive knowledge, will be widely sought and be encouraged to participate in ODA activities.

In addition, the government will encourage regional studies relating to developing countries and research on development policy, to promote accumulation of Japan’s intellectual assets in the development sphere.

(3) Development Education

Development education is important for promoting public understanding with respect to international cooperation including ODA, and for fostering people that will be engaged in international cooperation in the future. In this perspective, the government will take measures in schools and on other occasions to carry out more widespread education on development issues, such as the problems that face developing countries, relations between Japan and developing countries and the role that development assistance should play. Necessary educational materials will be distributed and teachers will be trained.

(4) Information Disclosure and Public Relations

It is important for information on ODA policy, implementation, and evaluation to be disclosed widely and promptly to ensure the sufficient transparency, and for it to be publicized actively. Therefore, the government will use a variety of means to provide information in easy-to-understand formats, and to create opportunities for Japanese citizens to come into contact with ODA activities that Japan is undertaking.

In addition, the government will make enhanced efforts to disseminate information regarding Japan’s ODA to developing countries as well as other donors.

3. Matters Essential to Effective Implementation

(1) Enhancement of Evaluation

The government will carry out consecutive evaluations at all stages, i.e. ex-ante, mid-term, and ex-post, and evaluations at each level, i.e. policy, program, and project. Furthermore, in order to measure, analyze and objectively evaluate the outcome of ODA, third-party evaluations conducted by experts will be enhanced while the government undertakes policy evaluations. The evaluation results will be reflected in subsequent ODA policy-making and efficient and effective implementation.

(2) Ensuring Appropriate Procedures

The government will adopt procedures to ensure that full consideration is given to the environmental and social impact of implementation of ODA. The government will make efforts to conduct appropriate and efficient procurement with regard to quality and price. At the same time, while ensuring these aspects, the procedures will be simplified and accelerated.

(3) Prevention of Fraud and Corruption

The government will implement appropriate measures to ensure the transparency of the activity-selection and implementation process, and to prevent fraud, corruption, and improper diversion of aid. In addition, the government will make efforts to assure the appropriate use of funds by enhancing auditing, including through the introduction of external audits.

(4) Ensuring the Safety of ODA Personnel

Safeguarding the lives and personal safety of ODA personnel is a prerequisite for the implementation of ODA. The government will fully obtain security related information and will take appropriate measures.

IV. Reporting on the Status of Implementation of the Official Development Assistance Charter

The government will report the status of the implementation of the Official Development Assistance Charter in the “White Paper on Official Development Assistance (ODA),” which is reported annually to the Cabinet.

August 29, 2003
Cabinet Decision