Chapter II.
Sectoral Analysis of the International Situation and Japan's Foreign Policy

Section 3.
Efforts toward the realization of a better global society

F. Healthcare

Newly-emerging infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, and re-emerging infectious diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, once expected to be eradicated, are global issues that cannot be solved by individual countries on their own but must be dealt with by the international community as a whole because of their cross-border implications and the huge financial burden involved in the fight against them. They not only threaten health and lives of individuals, but also pose a serious impediment to the social and economic development of developing countries. The issue has been taken up in recent G8 Summit Meetings, and has been a matter of common concern in the international community.

International organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have striven to push forward international cooperation to fight such infectious diseases. Japan has promoted its cooperation with the international organizations and donor countries, making the most of its experience and knowledge with a view to contributing to better healthcare in developing countries; Japan's contribution to the WHO is the second largest among its members. In February 1999, Dr. Shigeru Omi assumed the post of Regional Director of the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific. Under his leadership, the WHO has been working to further assist the region for improved healthcare.

Japan is the largest donor to polio eradication programs in the Western Pacific region, and the WHO is expected to officially declare the eradication of polio in the region before the end of the year 2000. Japan is also engaged in efforts against parasitic diseases, including malaria and schistosomiasis, which are serious health issues in tropical regions. As a part of such efforts, Japan plans to establish outreach bases in Asia and Africa for research and human resources development, with a view to promoting information exchange and human resources development.

Japan considers public health as one of the priority issues in its Medium-Term Policy on Official Development Assistance (ODA); 21% of grant assistance and 15% of technical cooperation were extended in the field of health and medical care in FY1998. Furthermore, Japan has implemented the "Global Issues Initiative (GII) on Population and AIDS" by allocating US$3 billion from its ODA budget during the seven-year period from FY1994 to FY2000, and has achieved a disbursement of US$3.7 billion for the five-year period ending in FY1998, thus exceeding the targeted amount.

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