U.S. State Department Geographic Bureaus: East Asia and Pacific Bureau

Japan's Official Development Assistance

Fact sheet released by the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs,
U.S. Department of State, July 31, 1997.

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In 1994, Japan celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of its Official Development Assistance (ODA) program. In that year, Japan's ODA totaled $13.2 billion, making it the world's largest foreign aid donor for the fourth consecutive year. Even in 1996, when Japan's foreign aid budget fell 35%, Japan remained at the head of the list of the world's largest foreign aid donors. Japan has come to play an important leadership role in the formulation of policy and implementation of development assistance.

About sixty percent of Japan's aid is devoted to Asia, and a significant share is provided for large infrastructure projects in sectors such as power generation, transportation, and communications. However, Japan has gradually been diversifying its geographic focus to include the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Japan has also begun to broaden the scope of its aid projects to include non-infrastructure sectors.

The two implementing arms of Japan's aid program are the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund, which administers long-term loans, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is responsible for grants and technical assistance. Japan also extends financial help to international organizations that help developing nations with environmental conservation, reforestation, and pollution prevention.

Through the Common Agenda initiative, the United States and Japan work together to address global issues such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic, rapid population growth, child health, the environment, and women in development. The United States and Japan have already initiated some 200 specific development projects and programs in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. These projects range from large government-to-government assistance programs to small grassroots grant projects run by non-governmental organizations. The governments of Japan and the United States also work together on energy and space development projects.

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