Japan’s Infrastructure Export and Development Cooperation: The Role of ODA Loan Projects in the 2010s

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Japan launched its first infrastructure export strategy in 2010, which positioned infrastructure export as one of the most important national economic strategies for boosting Japanese industries and simultaneously aiding developing countries. However, till date, the effects of the strategy and its successive revisions over the last decade have lacked an extensive analytic review.

This paper comprehensively examines the infrastructure export in Japan between 2010 and 2019 focusing on frequently overlooked commercial and developmental aspects, as the existing research mainly dealt with the Sino–Japanese rivalry in infrastructure projects. In this regard, this paper concentrates on Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan projects because they constitute one of the largest elements of infrastructure export in Japan.

The study analyzed a previously unexamined dataset on infrastructure-related ODA loan projects and contracts awarded to companies and showcased a solid mutually beneficial situation that avoided zero-sum-game approaches for recipient countries and Japan. It discusses whether and how changes in strategy increased the infrastructure export in Japan through ODA loan projects. In addition, the study explored how these projects influenced the relationship between Japan and recipient countries, especially in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Africa.

This study was written as part of a research project entitled “Research on Sustainable Development of Developing Countries: an Assessment of the Sustainability of Developing Countries Using the Inclusive Wealth Index and Investigating the Success Factors for Sustainable Infrastructure Development,” which is conducted by JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development. It was published in the Australian Journal of International Affairs and can be accessed from the following link.

Date of issuance
April 2022
Australian Journal of International Affairs
Number of pages
21 page
Research area
Global Environment
Research project