Diplomatic Bluebook 2001
Chapter II. JAPAN'S FOREIGN POLICY IN MAJOR DIPLOMATIC FIELDS
SECTION 3. DEVELOPMENT ISSUES AND ODA
C. Approaches to Specific Issues
Southeast Asia is a priority region for Japan's development assistance and receives nearly 40 percent of Japan's official development assistance (ODA). Now that about three years have passed since the Asian currency and financial crisis, Japan's ODA is focusing on promoting economic structural reforms, including financial system reform, and enhancing governance, including corruption prevention and thorough accountability. Japan has also dispatched a series of IT cooperation policy dialogue missions to Southeast Asian countries, for the implementation of the Comprehensive Cooperation Package to Address the International Digital Divide, a package announced by Prime Minister Mori prior to the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit.
Africa is the region that faces the greatest development challenges. Japan has taken various African development cooperation initiatives, such as twice hosting the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD; see Chapter III, Section 7). (In a policy speech made during his January 2001 visit to Africa, Prime Minister Mori expressed Japan's view that TICAD should serve as a venue for African countries to exchange opinions regarding development strategies of their own.)Refer to Chapter I, D-3 and Chapter III, Section 1-D for information on Japan's economic cooperation to China, India, and Pakistan.
At the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, Japan placed the issue of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases as a central development agenda item. The Summit also addressed the debt problem of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), education, and conflict prevention. Japan's assistance policy was highly valued. It includes the following four initiatives: (1) increase of non-ODA debt relief to 100 percent for the HIPC; (2) the Comprehensive Cooperation Package to Address the International Digital Divide with a view to extending approximately US$15 billion in ODA and non-ODA funds over the next five years; (3) the Okinawa Infectious Diseases Initiative with the target of allocating a total of US$3 billion over the next five years; and (4) "Action from Japan on Conflict and Development," policy guidelines for Japanese development cooperation for conflict prevention.
As a follow-up to the Okinawa Infectious Diseases Initiative, the Okinawa International Conference on Infectious Diseases took place in December with wide-ranging participation from donors, international organizations, developing countries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other stakeholders, and reached an agreement on a concrete action plan.
Japan has also been the largest single donor country to polio eradication programs in the East Asia and Western Pacific region. In October, the Western Pacific Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs convened the Kyoto Meeting on Poliomyelities Eradication in the Western Pacific Region. At this meeting, the region was declared free of indigenous wild polio virus, making the Western Pacific the second region of the world to become polio free, following North and South America.
Environmental conservation is identified as a priority issue under Japan's Medium-Term Policy on Official Development Assistance. Japan's environmental ODA now exceeds 500 billion yen per year (in 1999 on a commitment basis), and accounts for approximately 34 percent of total Japanese ODA expenditures.
On debt relief, Japan supports the Enhanced HIPC Initiative*1 agreed to at the G8 Köln Summit, and is striving to expeditiously advance debt relief under this framework. Additionally, considering the need not only for debt relief but also for strengthening the overall approach to development issues with a view to achieving sustainable economic growth, Japan has been providing assistance for human resources development and capacity building to achieve economic self-sustainability, including the promotion of South-South cooperation and assistance to enhance these countries' debt management capabilities.
In addressing conflict, it is necessary, alongside political efforts toward conflict resolution, to actively implement development assistance at every stage, from conflict prevention by tackling poverty, which is a potential cause of conflict, to provision of emergency humanitarian assistance when conflicts break out, to reconstruction and development assistance after conflicts have concluded. Moreover, it is critical to ensure that no "aid gap" appears, to ensure a smooth transition between each stage. Based on this perspective, Japan has been actively supporting measures to address anti-personnel landmines and to assist nation-building in East Timor.
Japan provides ODA to more than 150 countries, and it is essential to ensure the security of all those engaged in development assistance activities for the steady implementation of the work. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been implementing various measures to ensure security in close coordination with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the agency responsible for implementing Japan's technical cooperation, and with Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), the agency responsible for implementing Japan's loan aid. The government of Japan will continue to further improve and strengthen such safety efforts, including measures to reinforce the system for monitoring the safety and public security conditions in recipient countries.
- At the G8 Köln Summit, an agreement was reached to improve and enhance the existing international framework for providing debt relief to HIPC to deliver broader, faster, and deeper debt relief. Specifically, the Enhanced HIPC Initiative calls on the creditor countries to forgive 100 percent of HIPC's ODA debts and 90 percent in principle of their non-ODA debts, and for expanded debt relief by international financial institutions. At the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, the participants agreed on the importance of expediting the implementation of the Enhanced HIPC Initiative, and also to call on the OECD to review strengthened measures to ensure that export credits to HIPC and other low-income developing countries are not used for non-productive purposes (including military purposes).
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