A year of 2008 was truly remembered for Japan-Brazil relations and JICA itself. Designated as the Japan-Brazil Exchange Year, 2008 commemorated 100 years since the emigration from Japan to Brazil was started, a series of events was held in cooperation with people involved in relations between the two countries and furthermore a new JICA launched on October 1st. Here in Brazil, JICA Brazil merged with the Japanese ODA Loan Branch Division of the former JBIC representative office in Rio de Janeiro. With moving to a new office, "a new chapter" in the story of JICA has begun.
More than 98.9 billion yen had been raised for the technical cooperation by 2007 in Brazil since 1959. A wide range of collaborative projects have been implemented from the large-scale "National Projects," which included the development of agriculture in the Cerrado and the opening of new Usiminas steel mills to such projects in other fields as the environment, agriculture, medicine, education, mining and industry. Brazil receives the largest amount of aid in Latin America, and the sixth largest in the world.
Furthermore, Japanese ODA loan provided to Brazil since 1981 has reached an accumulated total of ¥241.5 billion, funding which has been applied to a wide variety of projects such as building ports, irrigating the Cerrado, bringing electricity to rural areas and ensuring an adequate plumbing infrastructure. This is the second largest amount of aid in Central and South America after Peru.
Besides those cooperation for Brazil, Japan and Brazil have collaborated through Triangle Cooperation to aid third countries, which is steadily building up credits. The Third Country Training Program begun in 1985 has had some 40 courses available as at 2007, and has taken on over 1,500 trainees from the surrounding countries, mainly Latin American countries. An agreement on the "Japan-Brazil Partnership Program (JBPP)" to collaborate on assistance to third countries was concluded in March 2000, and Brazilian-Japanese joint projects to aid certain African countries were also set up in 2007.
Under the new JICA, the prioritized areas of aid in Brazil are "Environment" (including climate change measures and urban environment improvements), "Social Development" (correcting social disparity) and "Triangle Cooperation." In order for Japan's aid to give a deeper impact and make a greater effect, we always draw up project plans from a mid-term perspective, with increasing consistency and transparency. The technical and loan assistance provided for the programs and projects examined in those plans are then employed effectively.
Brazil has the largest population of Japanese descent (Nikkei) in the world (1.5 million people), such that relations with Japan should be closer than other countries.
From the mid-1950s onwards, JICA's forerunner engaged in emigrant travel and settlement procedures, the parceling of real estate lots from designated immigrant land and farming loans. It also supported farming and the settlement of farmer immigrants. Formerly, Japanese-Brazilians were the direct beneficiaries of JICA's project support, but more recently, Nikkei organizations have been expanding their services to the regional community in various fields, including the promotion of Japanese culture and language, dedicating themselves for Brazil's social development and Japan-Brazil relations. With the aim to support these sorts of regional community services, JICA is sending out Nikkei community volunteers and providing the Nikkei training courses in Japan.
Nowadays Nikkei experts including the members of the Associação Brasil-Japão de Pesquisadores (Japan-Brazil Society for Researchers) are participating in JICA assistance projects both domestically and internationally in Brazil. We receive various support and cooperation from the Nikkei community such as the dispatch of Nikkei specialists to countries in Latin America and Africa for technical assistance, and collaboration on community development and environmental education projects using experience from the Nikkei community.
Brazil has already taken a pride in its place as the world's tenth largest economy, and bask in the global spotlight as a member of that remarkable group of economically developing BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China. In addition, due to having oil, natural gas, iron ore and other abundant natural resources along with extensive land that provides excellent food production capabilities, Brazil can be more than just an important partner for Japan in trade and investment; going forward, Brazil will increasingly be a vital source of foodstuffs and resources, too.
We the JICA Brazil Office will continue assistance for the domestic needs in the areas of environment, inclusive social development and infrastructure as needed on a timely manner. By promoting JBPP for Latin American and African countries, we would wish to further develop the mutual understanding and cooperative relationship between Brazil and Japan including the Nikkei community. Also, we would hope that the relationships between Japan-Brazil and the nations of Latin American/Africa could be increasingly enhanced. Our gratitude is warmly extended to everyone for your continuous support and encouragement. Thank you.
JICA Brazil Office