Despite a tight fiscal environment, Japan remains determined to shore up its official development assistance and expand its diplomatic presence worldwide. This is in line with the country’s goal to advance three strategic objectives: realize a stable international community, support the growth of emerging countries and strengthen confidence in Japan.
The ODA budget for 2014 has increased to 1.7 trillion yen ($16.5 billion), up 5 percent from the year before. The slight rise is due mainly to an $884 million boost in funding for ODA loan projects. But appropriations for the general accounts budget, which finances Japanese technical cooperation and grants, dipped to $5.4 billion — a trend that is likely to continue in 2015.
From the general accounts budget, $4.1 billion has been allocated for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. About $1.6 billion of this is for grant funding, while $1.4 billion has been earmarked to support the economic growth of emerging countries and facilitate the entry of small and medium Japanese enterprises into developing markets. The ministry also appropriated:
▪ $417 million to realize a favorable international environment for Japan.
▪ $413 million to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
▪ $363 million for the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD V.
▪ $227 million in development assistance to the Middle East and North Africa.
▪ $210.6 million to support democratization efforts; the creation of a stable, legal environment for foreign investors; and promote climate change measures in Myanmar.
▪ $187 million for disaster reduction and recovery measures.
▪ $167.4 million to promote universal health coverage.
▪ $147 million to advance the role of women in society and improve maternal health.
▪ $75.4 million to support the economic integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
▪ $16.7 million to strengthen maritime security.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency’s budget for its ODA loan projects — which focuses on infrastructure — rose to $9.7 billion this year, up 8 percent from 2013 levels. The increase is largely a result of JICA’s contribution to the latest replenishment period of the World Bank’s International Development Assistance.
Condensed and republished with permission from The International Development Journal, a leading monthly journal in Japanese focusing on international development.