Japan setting up anti-bribery mechanism for aid program

Miniature Japanese flags. The country plans to set up anti-bribery mechanism for its aid programs. Photo by: Seb Ruiz / CC BY-NC-SA

Japan is planning to roll out new anti-fraud measures to ensure accountability within its foreign aid operation, after bribery allegations rocked three of its country programs earlier this year, Devex has confirmed.

The anti-bribery mechanism will be rolled out in Vietnam first before potential adoption in Indonesia and Uzbekistan — the three countries where a private contractor has been accused of paying local officials roughly $780,000 to win development projects.

An official with Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified on Tuesday that the government will continue providing official development assistance to these countries, after the South China Morning Post suggested Japan was temporarily halting aid to Vietnam.

“It is not true that Japan stopped development assistance to Vietnam,” the Japanese official told Devex.

Talks between Vietnam and Japan are still in the early stages, he added, and no further details are available as of yet. The negotiations, however, will likely include specific responsibilities from Japan and the partner governments in cases of bribery.

Government officials from the two nations met “the other day” and talks will continue at the end of the month, the Japanese government employee told Devex. Similar talks with counterparts from Uzbekistan and Indonesia will likely start in the next couple of days, the official said.

The bribery allegations against Japan Transportation Consultants were first reported in March. The following month, the company told Devex that a third-party committee of “independent lawyers” had been set up to conduct a “thorough investigation into the matter.”

“We will inform all concerned parties of these results once the committee has officially published its findings and recommendation,” Keiko Hanajima of JTC’s international administrative department said at the time.

The findings have not been shared yet, a company spokesperson told Devex on Tuesday.

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About the author

  • Lean Alfred Santos

    Lean Alfred Santos is a former Devex development reporter focusing on the development community in Asia-Pacific, including major players such as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. He previously covered Philippine and international business and economic news, sports and politics.