Oral History of Development Cooperation: Beyond Crises (Reconsidering the History of Japan’s Development Cooperation Series, Vol. 6)

  • #Books and Reports

One of the fundamental principles of Japan’s official development assistance (ODA) has been to support the self-help efforts of people in developing countries. If the recipients of ODA have ownership of development processes, aren’t they, rather than its providers, ultimately supposed to be the ones who judge whether a project is a success or a failure? To give a balanced picture of the history of Japan’s development cooperation, the voices of the recipients need to be recorded and presented appropriately. From such a perspective, this book makes best use of the method of oral history.

Although numerous academic works on the history of development cooperation have been published to date, oral history drawing on narratives of the recipients of ODA has hardly been available, at least in Japanese. This book aims to fill this gap.

The author selected interviewees not from high-ranking policymakers but from people who took charge of on-site projects as counterparts of Japanese experts. He conducted 213 interviews in ten countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, covering 15 cases, namely, three cases from each of the five sectors: agriculture and fisheries, manufacturing, education, health, and human security. . Interview narratives are embedded in the description of case studies, and thereby the images of the past projects take shape from the perspectives of both the recipient countries and Japan.

Moreover, the book carefully explains how these projects have overcome political and environmental crises, as well as those related to organizational sustainability, they faced. The reader will learn a lot of practical lessons from the project histories.

This is the sixth volume of the seven-volume series entitled “Nihon no Kaihatsukyoryokushi wo Toinaosu” (Reconsidering the History of Japan’s Development Cooperation), published in Japanese as outcomes of “Japan’s Development Cooperation: A Historical Perspective,” a research project by JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development (JICA Ogata Research Institute).

MINE Yoichi
Date of issuance
March 2023
University of Tokyo Press
Number of pages
416 page
  • #Japan's Development Cooperation
Research area
Development Cooperation Strategies
Research project