January 4, 2008
2008 will be a year of great significance for Japan and its Official Development Assistance (ODA) program.
The country faces heightened expectations, notably in connection with its role as host of the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in Yokohama in May and as chair of the G8 summit in Hokkaido in July.
'New JICA' will be launched in October following the completion of the merger between JICA and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). The enlarged agency will be one of the world’s largest bilateral donors and for the first time will handle three kinds of aid all under a single roof—technical assistance, major portions of the grant aid currently disbursed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the soft loans that have traditionally been channeled through JBIC.
While continuing to focus on the concept of 'human security,' 'New JICA' will also address such global issues as poverty and the environment and will strike to make its voice more resonant on the world stage, tapping the synergies produced by the merger.
Development assistance constitutes the largest element of Japan's contributions to the international community, and implementing it speedily and steadily is essential, I believe, in order to fulfill our country's international responsibility as a major economic power.
In today's increasingly interdependent world, we will continue our efforts to maintain the support of the Japanese public for development assistance and to move toward creation of a world of peace and prosperity, where the people in developing regions can enjoy better lives.
I look forward to your ongoing advice and cooperation.