JICA Ogata Research Institute

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Japan’s Development Cooperation: From Making Amends to Agenda-Setting

This study explores the evolution of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) over the past 75 years and particularly focuses on the period from the 1980s. It addresses human security and quality growth, which served as the cornerstones for Japan's international development cooperation. Moreover, it examines the shifts and continuities in regional visions and sectoral priorities, such as infrastructure development as well as the role of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is the implementing body of Japan's ODA schemes.

Furthermore, it argues that three drivers recurrently guided Japan's development cooperation over the examined period, namely, (1) developmentalism bolstered by Japan’s experience of modernization from nonwestern background, (2) neomercantilism, and (3) strategic and geopolitical considerations. These factors carried different weights and exhibited various interactions across periods.

The author states that “the evolution of Japan’s ODA reflects an increasing norm socialization,” in that Japan has progressively increased its contribution to the international community via ODA and has “increasingly included elements of not only trend-setting, but also norm-setting in foreign aid.”

The author contributed this paper to the special issue on ODA by Revista de Fomento Social, a scientific publication of Universidad Loyola.

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