ODA Topics 7
Learn more about Japan’s ODA activities that contribute to the world!
“Go! ODA-Man”Looking back on 2019
○ Making complicated things easier to understand
Japan is engaged in various development cooperation efforts aimed at resolving the diverse issues and challenges faced by countries around the world. However, there is a broad range and scope of the activities, which makes development cooperation very difficult to understand, even though it is simply referred to as “ODA.”
Thus, the Government of Japan launched an initiative in 2018 to provide explanations about ODA, appointing “Yoshida-kun,” the main character in the popular animation “Eagle Talon,” as “ODA-Man.” The aim is to provide easy-to-understand answers, as far as possible, to questions such as “Why does Japan need to engage in development cooperation?,” “What types of activities does it actually do?,” and “What kind of modalities are available for ODA, and how are the ODA projects developed and designed?,” and others.
After that, the first series of videos titled “Go! ODA-Man” were launched on YouTube, which takes a fun approach to explaining ODA and has received more than 400,000 views. Consequently “ODA-Man,” whose activities have been highly recognized, visited the Minister of Foreign Affairs in September 2019, and was formally designated as an official character in the second year of his appointment.
○ ODA-Man’s activities over the past year
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched its ODA Publicity Twitter account in May 2019, providing information through tweets about “ODA-Man’s” trips abroad as he introduces ODA projects in diverse countries including India, the Solomon Islands, Kenya, and Kyrgyzstan as well as other information, such as recent topics related to international cooperation.
In 2019, new episodes of the video “Go! ODA-Man” were released, including the “Business in Africa,” “Saving the World through ODA,” “Circle of Gratitude through ODA,” and “Industry Vitalization.” A simulation game, “You can also be ‘ODA-Man’!” was also released in the same year. In this game, the player takes on the role of a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official who designs ODA projects in the fictitious country of the “Republic of Poko Poko.” Great care has been taken to create contents that encourage those who are not interested in ODA, as well as people of all ages, to learn about ODA while having fun, so do check out these contents!
○“ODA-Man” shows up everywhere
In 2019, “ODA-Man” not only appeared in videos, but also took official trips around Japan. His first regional symposium was held in Shimane Prefecture to coincide with the hometown of “Yoshida-kun,” alias “ODA-Man.” “ODA-Man” explained about ODA through videos and other means during the event introducing a wide range of initiatives such as large-scale ODA loan projects, support to developing countries by Japanese local governments through the JICA Partnership Program, and support programs which would benefit Japanese small- and medium-sized companies, including initiatives and efforts taken by Shimane Prefecture.
In addition, the international cooperation event, “Global Festa Japan,” was held at Odaiba in Tokyo on September 28 and 29 and attracted more than 180,000 visitors throughout the two days. There were booth exhibitions by over 250 organizations including NGOs, private companies, international organizations, embassies in Tokyo, and universities, as well as a wide range of programs by various speakers on the main and special stages. “ODA-Man” also made an appearance at this event and introduced his original videos and games with voice-over by the voice actor, FROGMAN. During his walk around the venue, “ODA-Man” was approached by many visitors, from children to elderly people, exclaiming, “It’s ODA-Man!,” and there were even long queues of people waiting to take photographs with him. It was truly a successful event.
“ODA-Man” will continue to put his full efforts into deepening the interest and understanding of the Japanese people toward ODA. Your support is much appreciated.