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Former President's Message



2014 was the 60th anniversary of Japan's international cooperation, and 2015 marks the 70th year since the end of World War II.

Japan rose from the ruins after WWII, achieved rapid economic growth and became one of the safest and wealthiest countries in the world. During this period, what was the key contribution Japan made to the world? I think international cooperation to developing countries is one of Japan's key postwar contributions to the international community.

It is well-known that Japan received a wide range of assistance from the international community during its reconstruction. Immediately after the war, Japan received GARIOA and EROA funds from the United States, and LARA supplies and food aid from international NGOs. Japan also benefitted from the World Bank's assistance for the construction of such structures as the Tokaido Shinkansen, the Kurobe Dam and the Tomei Expressway.

Even at such a time, Japan returned to the international community and began international cooperation. It has contributed to solving problems of developing countries, and eventually to their socio-economic development. Japan's and JICA's style of cooperation has been valued by many partner countries for 1) respecting their ownership, 2) supporting human resource development from a long-term perspective and 3) developing infrastructure that serves as the foundation of growth. I think this style of cooperation has contributed to achieving very high growth in Southeast and South Asia.

And observing the world today, dynamic changes are ongoing. From the aspect of peace, while there have been positive developments in places such as Mindanao, the Philippines, frequent terrorism and conflicts continue in the Middle East and other places. Moreover, many people's lives and human dignity continue to be threatened by not only poverty, but also typhoons, flooding, earthquakes and other frequent and successive natural disasters. On the other hand, we see many upper-middle-income countries ascending the world stage and new donors emerging including Brazil, China, India, Thailand and the oil-producing nations of the Middle East. Looking at international development trends, 2015 is the target year of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and also the year to set a post-2015 development agenda. JICA will face these changes and take on new challenges, in addition to existing development issues that must continue to be addressed.

In February 2015, a new Development Cooperation Charter was established by the Government of Japan. In this charter, the concept of human security was carried over from the previous charter and specified again as one of the basic policies in Japan's ODA philosophy. I think the concept of human security is embodied by the preamble to the Constitution of Japan, "We recognize that all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want." To solve global scale issues that transcend the framework of countries, such as the environment, climate change, infectious diseases and energy, a human-centered approach is important. I believe this human-centered approach is an ideal concept for Japan to make the most of its own strengths.

Under the basic policy of human security, we must concentrate the expertise and experience Japan possesses even more to eradicate poverty through "quality growth," which is one of the priority issues in the charter. JICA will endeavor to address issues of developing countries by forming even more partnerships with all of you in the private sector, local governments, universities, research institutions, civil society and elsewhere.

We at JICA appreciate your continued support and encouragement.

TANAKA Akihiko

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

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