February 14, 2023
JICA Research Institute, Tokyo Japan
Honorable Ministers and Governors,
Vice Minister, Mr. Kanda,
Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Okamura,
And distinguished delegates:
I am delighted to welcome you in person to the Sixth IMF-JICA Conference for the first time in three years.
I first would like to express my sincere appreciation to the IMF and JICA staff, especially Director Mr. Yoshida of the IMF Office for Asia and the Pacific (OAP), and Director Mr. Srinivasan of the IMF's Asia and Pacific Department, for their efforts to make this conference possible.
We are in the midst of compounding crises accelerated by the pandemic, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, energy and food price hikes, and climate change. These crises have led to backsliding on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and are putting human security under threat.
Asia has suffered a major loss of precious lives and economic scarring from the crises. Yet, while some countries continue to struggle depending on their circumstances, the region has demonstrated significant resilience and is recovering relatively quickly.
Asia's resilience is partly attributed to the tremendous reform efforts that Asian countries undertook after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. Our efforts to develop intra-regional trade networks and foster deeper market integration through global trade have contributed to the resilience of Asian economies.
Once again, we must learn from times of crises. Global risks are deeply interconnected, and crises always disproportionately affect vulnerable countries and populations. Going forward, we must carefully balance short-term emergency relief with mid- to long-term recovery and development.
This conference aims to provide a mutual learning opportunity for fiscal and monetary authorities who are tackling difficult challenges at home.
In today's conference, I hope your discussions will delve deeper into three aspects.
The first aspect is how to manage public finances to strengthen resilience and achieve the SDGs with limited fiscal space---especially sectors such as health and education.
The second aspect is how to set fiscal and monetary policies that contribute to climate action. We must increase our effort on adaptation and energy transition, taking into account the vulnerability of the region to climate change. At the same time, Asia needs to scale up finance to achieve net zero.
The third and final aspect is learning from the experiences of countries that demonstrated economic resilience. The policy implications in terms of building resilience to future crises is significant not only for Asia, but for the rest of the world. Over the coming decades, Asia will continue to be the center of global economic growth. Therefore, its stability and prosperity are essential.
Finally, I would like to briefly highlight some of JICA's recent initiatives to respond to the current crises.
Immediately after the pandemic, we extended budgetary support to 18 countries for mitigating the adverse impacts of COVID-19. We also supported more than 244 hospitals in 44 countries to expand their physical capacity and strengthen healthcare delivery.
On climate adaptation, we are promoting ex-ante investment for disaster risk and building the institutional capacity of our partners to manage disaster risks more effectively. We have also started work on carbon neutrality roadmaps tailored to each country to accelerate the just energy transition.
Furthermore, JICA and the IMF are leveraging respective strength to improve fiscal and financial management capacity around the region which will be discussed today. We wish to jointly contribute to building the resilience of Asian countries for years to come.
I hope you will enjoy, and learn from, today's discussion and return home with new ideas on how to meet the significant policy challenges with which you must contend.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.