This book attempts a critical review of the 60 years of Japan's official development assistance (ODA), or, as former JICA President Akihiko Tanaka puts it, "one of Japan's major instruments of its post-World War II foreign policy - indeed, perhaps the most important."
The book is edited by Hiroshi Kato, JICA vice-president (and formerly director of JICA-RI); John Page, Brookings Institution senior fellow; and Yasutami Shimomura, professor emeritus at Hosei University. The volume is a culmination of the outcome of an international research project organized by JICA-RI.
The volume is a comprehensive review of the history of Japanese ODA. Covering almost the entire post-WWII period, and looking both at bilateral and multilateral ODA, the book features 21 essays contributed by the members of a highly diverse project team. This team includes first-class researchers as well as experienced development assistance practitioners from Japan, the U.S., Europe, Asia and Africa.
The book is organized into six parts.
The introductory part gives an overview of the histories of Japan's bilateral and multilateral ODA. Following that, Part I discusses, chiefly from a political economy point of view, the origins and institutional foundations of Japan's bilateral assistance, changes in ODA policies, and Japan's experiences as an aid recipient country.
Part II looks at Japan's ODA from a comparative perspective and discusses the patterns of development assistance commonly found in three Asian donors: Japan, Korea and China. The chapters in this part also discuss how Japan's aid - and Korean and Chinese aid, too, for that matter - differ from that of other development actors, including the majority of the OECD/DAC members as well as the Bretton Woods institutions.
Part III examines the practice, instruments and approaches of Japan's aid. Subjects covered here include the emphasis on infrastructure improvement and industrial structural transformation, extensive use of policy based financing, the concept of human security, and the history of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers.
Part IV analyzes Japan's engagement with the United Nations, the World Bank and the OECD, which have played a large role in the evolution of international cooperation.
The conclusion, Part V, discusses how Japan's experiences in development assistance should be put to work in the future as the international community commences its efforts toward the Sustainable Development Goals. The section also incorporates a critical review of Japan's ODA from the viewpoint of a researcher working in Japan's civil society community.