August 6, 2015
President Tanaka speaks at Brookings
On July 27, JICA President Akihiko Tanaka addressed an audience at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC think tank, where he spoke about Japan’s “Proactive Contribution to Peace” and what it means in development. Following his remarks, Brookings’ David Dollar, a senior fellow within the John L. Thornton China Center, offered comments. Tanaka then engaged with the audience on a range of questions posed in a discussion moderated by Richard C. Bush III, the Director of the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at Brookings.
Tanaka introduced Prime Minister Abe’s strategy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace”and stressed that development cooperation has also played and continue to play an important role in contributing to peace proactively,” he stated.
To illustrate his point, he provided concrete examples of how JICA, as the agency responsible for implementing Japanese Official Development Assistance, works to promote stability and peace. He spoke about the support JICA is providing for reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, peace building efforts in South Sudan, the agency’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis, post-earthquake assistance in Nepal and JICA’s role in the Mindanao peace process. Drawing from lessons learned from JICA’s experience, he concluded with four main lessons about which types of projects are best apt to secure lasting peace. These include projects that raise people’s expectations for the future, that provide benefits to all stakeholders, that develop human resources and institutional capacities, and that show a long-term vision and commitment to the people.
The Question and Answer (Q&A) portion of the discussion allowed Tanaka to elaborate on the importance of JICA extending soft loans to finance social sector projects, including a support to Universal Health Coverage in Kenya, for contributing to peacebuilding through reduction of social vulnerability. He also touched upon good practices of assisting fragile states as well as collaboration between JICA and related agencies in China.