Akihiko Tanaka's vision for JICA

    Akihiko Tanaka. Photo by: Devex

    What is invigorating assistance?

    In simplest terms, it is assistance that benefits both Japan and developing countries. It is also Akihiko Tanaka’s vision for Japanese aid, which he explains in four perspectives:

    • Assistance to build peace.

    • Assistance to expand markets.

    • Assistance to enhance knowledge.

    • Assistance to “widen the circle of friendship.”

    The first emphasizes the importance of addressing instability internationally, which in turn ensures Japan’s safety. The second, meanwhile, relates to the Japan International Cooperation Agency has been tapping public-private partnerships to help build and expand infrastructure in Asia and parts of Africa. This not only boosts economic activity, but also opens up opportunities for Japanese companies — an emerging trend among traditional donors.

    The third perspective highlights JICA’s focus: technical assistance. And the fourth delves into people and knowledge exchange: People from developing countries going to Japan, Japanese specialists and volunteers going to developing countries, and Japan partnering with emerging donors to assist developing countries.

    These, according to Tanaka, will form a “base for a sense of solidarity between the people in Japan and around the world.” But it remains to be seen if this vision could strengthen Japan’s position in the field of development cooperation. The Asian nation, along with several traditional donors, is in danger of becoming irrelevant by 2025, according to a report by the Overseas Development Institute.

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.