The Maldives are a small island country comprising about 1,190 islands and with a small population of 320,000 people (2010). Situated in a geopolitically important location that connects Southwest Asia and the Middle East, the Maldives traditionally have a friendly relationship with Japan. The economy is based on the tourism and fisheries industries, which together account for about 40 percent of the total GDP. That economy is vulnerable to external shock such as when the number of tourists from Europe, who make up 70 percent of all tourists to the Maldives, declined as a result of the global economic crisis. Taking these characteristics of the Maldives into consideration, JICA is providing cooperation primarily in the renewable energy field with solar power and the like and dispatching education volunteers to contribute to social and economic development and the stability and improvement of living conditions.