JICA has fostered JJ partnership

[Goal 8] Decent Work and Economic Growth
[Goal 11] Sustainable Cities and Communities
[Goal 16] Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Kawasaki Mitsuyoshi Resident Representative JICA Jamaica Office

Through Blue Mountain Coffee, Reggae icon Bob Marley and Athlete Usain Bolt, Jamaica, a small country located in the Caribbean, is known to the world. On the other hand, the unstable security situation, which is represented by the number of homicide victims per 100,000 people – more than 20 victims per year since 1990 (the number of victims during 2019-2021 were the largest in the world) has cast a dark shadow over the country's growth. In 2024, celebrating Japan CARICOM Friendship Year 2024, and the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Jamaica, I will look back on JICA's cooperation history to date and look ahead to a new JJ partnership (efforts to further solidify the bond between the two countries through bilateral cooperation).

Cultural exchanges that are essential for dealing with Jamaica

 Mr.Daichi HIRATA, one of the leaders of Okinawan culture, said, "Culture is not a snack, but a staple food," but in Jamaica, it is precisely a staple food through music and dance. The people of Jamaica have inherited the spirit of freedom, self-reliance, and sovereign from their ancestors who won liberation from slavery (1838) and independence from the British colony (1962), and it seems that men and women of all ages are enjoying their lives despite serious issues such as security problems and economic disparity. In 2015, Japan assisted Jamaica with a grant aid for "the project for the improvement of the exhibition and audiovisual equipment of the Institute of Jamaica". Today, visitors to the institution such as children and tourists are sure to pass on the country's cultural heritage. In addition, "Reggae Bon Bon" (a fusion of reggae music and Bon Odori), which was announced in 2022 as JICA's original official content for the 60th anniversary, has been performed on various occasions in Tokyo and Kingston in 2024, coloring the present and future of the JJ partnership. In the fall of 2024, we will hold a "JICA Day" in collaboration with the JICA Alumni Association in Jamaica (JAAJ), with the aim of deepening cultural exchanges between the two countries, including Reggae Bon Bon.

At JJ Exchange's cultural event in Kingston

Blue Mountain Coffee cultivation-Contribution of Japan's public and private sectors

 The largest export market for Blue Mountain Coffee is Japan, accounting for about 70% of all exports, and this is owing to the public-private partnership efforts between UCC Ueshima Coffee Co., Ltd. and the Japanese government (JICA), such as the "Basic Survey and Development Plan Survey" for Jamaican coffee cultivation conducted by JICA from 1981 to 1982, the "Blue Mountain Coffee Development Pilot Project" from 1983 onwards with JICA development financing, and also the Blue Mountain Coffee Development Project (Yen Loan: 5.941 billion yen, loan agreement signed in April 1984, loan completed in April 1997). Thanks in part to these efforts, the establishment of cultivation techniques and the development of core infrastructure facilities and equipment, such as the renovation of refining plants, have progressed, and it is leading to the establishment and maintenance of the quality of this coffee, which has long been highly regarded by coffee lovers around the world.
 "Allow me," is the message of Mr. William, who works for the refinery of Jamaica UCC Blue Mountain Coffee Company Ltd.. The cooperation between JICA and the local company established by UCC Ueshima Coffee Co., Ltd. in March 1982 has also made a pioneering contribution to the creation of an inclusive society by employing people with intellectual disabilities in around 2012. In December 2023, at the "Employment EXPO 2023" held in Kingston, I received the following message from Mr. William: "Even if you have a disability, you can work if you have the opportunity to make the most of your characteristics”. In fact, in 2012, JICA volunteer was assigned to the Jamaican Association on Intellectual Disabilities (JAID) where Mr. William learned, and acted as a catalyst between JAID and the company, which led to the realization of social participation of people with disabilities.

The importance of showing Japan’s face in development cooperation

A government official who is well aware of Japan's cooperation to Jamaica expressed her gratitude to me for JICA's water supply improvement project. Yen Loan, “The Kingston Metropolitan Area Water Supply Improvement Project" (6.644 billion yen, loan agreement signed in July 1996 and loan completed in May 2010), which contributed to the stable supply of water in the metropolitan area, and Technical Cooperation(T/C), "Capacity Building of Water Maintenance(March 2007-November 2010)" were collaboratively extended. Through the T/C, human resource development and management systems were strengthened in terms of the operation, maintenance, and management of the implementing agency (National Water Commission). When looking back on the achievements of Japan's development cooperation to Jamaica, there are surprisingly few technical cooperation projects, and I believe that the collaboration of Loan and T/C , which has received high praise for its "visible face of Japan" in terms of both funding and technology, will serve as a reference model for strengthening the JJ partnership in development cooperation in the future.

A new challenge that will lead to the promotion of JJ exchanges

Since 1989, approximately 500 JICA volunteers have been dispatched to Jamaica, and security issues have been a major risk since then, so safety measures have become a top priority for the JICA Jamaica Office that supports their activities. In FY2023, we have just started "Jamaica Capacity Building on the Community Police-KOBAN System (Third Countries Training Program)." With the cooperation of the Military Police of the State of São Paulo of Brazil, which has succeeded in restoring public order by building a regional police system with reference to Japan police boxes-KOBAN since 2005, the Japan-Jamaica-Brazil trilateral cooperation project aims at strengthening the capacity to carry out community police activities in Jamaica to reduce crimes such as murders, robberies and shootings, and improve public safety. We aim to improve the capacity of Jamaican police officers. Beyond that, there is a desire to increase investment in Jamaica by Japanese private companies and to further promote JJ's people-level exchanges through various culture activities.

Third Country Training Program(Group photo of Jamaican police officers and Brazilian officials) (Courtesy of Jamaica Constabulary Force)


At one meeting, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness directly praised me, saying, "Japan/JICA is a great partner!" There is no doubt that behind this message was JICA’s volunteer work in addition to JJ exchanges through the JAAJ and about 700 Jamaicans who have participated in various subject-specific training programs1 in Japan since 1971. How to utilize the knowledge and experience cultivated by each of them for the future development of the JJ partnership, and how to use it to foster cooperative relationships with countries in the Caribbean region, are important issues for us as the person in charge of operations in Jamaica. We will continue to work in this regard, bearing in mind that the 60-year anniversary is an opportunity to encourage people to take on challenges with a new mindset. I would be delighted if this blog could spark your interest in "JJ partnership ".

  • ※ 1 We conduct this program in cooperation with many related organizations in Japan to contribute to solving issues faced by developing countries through Japan's knowledge and experience. The training covers a wide range of fields, from hospital management know-how and local government systems to traditional agricultural technology and cutting-edge science and technology.

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