of Japan's Official Development Assistance Charter
Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) Charter, approved
by the Cabinet in 1992, has been the foundation of Japan's
aid policy for more than 10 years. The world has changed dramatically
since the Charter was first approved, and today there is an
urgent need for the international community, including Japan,
to address new development challenges such as peace-building.
Faced with these new challenges, many developed countries
are strengthening their ODA policy, to deal with the serious
problems that developing countries face. At the same time,
not only governments and international organisations, but
many other actors are also assisting developing countries.
All actors engaged in development assistance are strengthening
their mutual collaboration.
In line with the spirit of the Japanese Constitution, Japan
will vigorously address these new challenges to fulfill its
responsibilities commensurate with its national strength and
its standing in the international community. In this regard,
it is important to have public support for ODA. It is essential
to effectively implement ODA, fully taking into account the
domestic economic and fiscal situation as well as the views
of the Japanese people.
Against this background, the Government of Japan has revised
the ODA Charter, with the aim of enhancing the strategic value,
flexibility, transparency, and efficiency of ODA. The revision
has also the aim of encouraging wide public participation
and of deepening the understanding of Japan's ODA policies
both within Japan and abroad.
Japan's Official Development Assistance Charter
I. Philosophy: Objectives, Policies, and Priorities
The objectives of Japan's ODA are to contribute to the peace
and development of the international community, and thereby
to help ensure Japan's own security and prosperity.
Taking advantage of Japan's experience as the first nation
in Asia to become a developed country, Japan has utilized
its ODA to actively support economic and social infrastructure
development, human resource development, and institution building.
Consequently, Japan has significantly contributed to the economic
and social development of developing countries, especially
in East Asia.
Amid the post-Cold War advancement of globalization, the
international community presently finds itself in a new environment,
grappling with a multiplicity of problems such as the gap
between the rich and the poor; ethnic and religious conflicts;
armed conflicts; terrorism; suppression of freedom, human
rights, and democracy; environmental problems; infectious
diseases; and gender issues.
In particular, humanitarian problems, such as extreme poverty,
famine, refugee crises, and natural disasters, as well as
global issues such as those relating to the environment and
water, are important issues that need to be addressed in order
for the international community as a whole to achieve sustainable
development. These problems are cross border issues that present
a grave threat to each and every human being.
Furthermore, conflicts and terrorism are occurring more frequently
and they are becoming even more serious issues. Preventing
conflicts and terrorism, and efforts to build peace, as well
as efforts to foster democratization, and to protect human
rights and the dignity of individuals have become major issues
inherent to the stability and development of the international
Japan, as one of the world's leading nations, is determined
to make best use of ODA to take the initiative in addressing
these issues. Such efforts will in turn benefit Japan itself
in a number of ways, including by promoting friendly relations
and people-to-people exchanges with other countries, and by
strengthening Japan's standing in the international arena.
In addition, as nations deepen their interdependence, as
a country, which enjoys the benefits of international trade
and is heavily dependent on the outside world for resources,
energy and food, Japan will proactively contribute to the
stability and development of developing countries through
its ODA. This correlates closely with assuring Japan's security
and prosperity and promoting the welfare of its people. In
particular, it is essential that Japan will make efforts to
enhance economic partnership and vitalize exchange with other
Asian countries with which it has particularly close relations.
Japan aspires for world peace. Actively promoting the aforementioned
efforts with ODA, and manifesting this posture both at home
and abroad is the most suitable policy for gaining sympathy
and support from the international community for Japan's position.
Therefore, Japan's ODA will continue to play an important
role in the years to come.
2. Basic Policies
In order to achieve the objectives outlined above, Japan
will carry out ODA even more strategically, in accordance
with the following basic policies.
(1) Supporting self-help efforts of developing countries
The most important philosophy of Japan's ODA is to support
the self-help efforts of developing countries based on good
governance, by extending cooperation for their human resource
development, institution building including development of
legal systems, and economic and social infrastructure building,
which constitute the basis for these countries' development.
Accordingly, Japan respects the ownership of developing countries,
and places priorities on their own development strategies.
In carrying out the above policy, Japan will give priority
to assisting developing countries that make active efforts
to pursue peace, democratization, and the protection of human
rights, as well as structural reform in the economic and social
(2) Perspective of "Human Security"
In order to address direct threats to individuals such as
conflicts, disasters, infectious diseases, it is important
not only to consider the global, regional, and national perspectives,
but also to consider the perspective of human security, which
focuses on individuals. Accordingly, Japan will implement
ODA to strengthen the capacity of local communities through
human resource development. To ensure that human dignity is
maintained at all stages, from the conflict stage to the reconstruction
and development stages, Japan will extend assistance for the
protection and empowerment of individuals.
(3) Assurance of fairness
In formulating and implementing assistance policies, Japan
will take steps to assure fairness. This should be achieved
by giving consideration to the condition of the socially vulnerable,
and the gap between the rich and the poor as well as the gap
among various regions in developing countries. Furthermore,
great attention will be paid with respect to factors such
as environmental and social impact on developing countries
of the implementation of ODA.
In particular, the perspective of gender equality is important.
Japan will make further efforts to improve the status of women,
giving full consideration to the active participation of women
in development, and to ensuring that women reap benefits from
(4) Utilization of Japan's experience and expertise
Japan will utilize it's own experience in economic and social
development as well as in economic cooperation when assisting
the development of developing countries, fully taking into
account the development policies and assistance needs of developing
countries. Japan will also utilize its advanced technologies,
expertise, human resource, and institutions.
Implementation of ODA will be coordinated with key Japanese
policies to ensure policy coherence, taking into consideration
implications for Japan's economy and society.
(5) Partnership and collaboration with the international
Mainly with the initiative of international organizations,
the international community is sharing more common development
goals and strategies and various stakeholders are increasingly
coordinating their aid activities. Japan will participate
in this process, and endeavor to play a leading role. In parallel
with such efforts, Japan will pursue collaboration with United
Nations organizations, international financial institutions,
other donor countries, NGOs, private companies, and other
entities. In particular, Japan will enhance collaboration
with international organizations that possess expertise and
political neutrality, and will endeavor to ensure that Japan's
policies are reflected appropriately in the management of
In addition, Japan will actively promote South-South cooperation
in partnership with more advanced developing countries in
Asia and other regions. Japan will also strengthen collaboration
with regional cooperation frameworks, and will support region-wide
cooperation that encompasses several countries.
3. Priority Issues
In accordance with the objectives and basic policies set
out above, the following are Japan's priority issues.
(1) Poverty reduction
Poverty reduction is a key development goal shared by the
international community, and is also essential for eliminating
terrorism and other causes of instability in the world. Therefore,
Japan will give high priorities to providing assistance to
such sectors as education, health care and welfare, water
and sanitation and agriculture, and will support human and
social development in the developing countries. At the same
time, sustainable economic growth, increase in employment,
and improvement in the quality of life are indispensable for
realizing poverty reduction and Japan places importance in
providing assistance for those .
(2) Sustainable growth
In order to invigorate developing countries' trade and investment,
as well as exchange among various peoples, and to support
sustainable growth, Japan will place importance on providing
assistance for the development of the socioeconomic infrastructure
-a key factor for economic activity, and also for policy-making,
the development of institutions, and human resource development.
This will include cooperation in the field of trade and investment
including the appropriate protection of intellectual property
rights and standardization, information and communications
technology (ICT), the acceptance of exchange students, and
cooperation for research.
In addition, Japan will endeavor to ensure that its ODA,
and its trade and investment, which exert a substantial influence
on the development of recipient countries, are carried out
in close coordination, so that they have the overall effect
of promoting growth of developing countries. To that end,
Japan will make efforts to enhance coordination between Japan's
ODA and other official flows such as trade insurance and import
and export finance. At the same time, private-sector economic
cooperation will be promoted, making full use of private-sector
vitality and funds.
(3) Addressing global issues
Global issues such as global warming and other environmental
problems, infectious diseases, population, food, energy, natural
disasters, terrorism, drugs, and international organized crime
must be dealt with immediately and in a coordinated manner
by the international community. Japan will address these issues
through ODA and will play an active role in the creation of
In order to prevent conflicts from arising in developing
regions, it is important to comprehensively address various
factors that cause conflicts. As part of such undertakings,
Japan will carry out ODA to achieve poverty reduction and
the correction of disparities, as referred to above. In addition
to assistance for preventing conflicts and emergency humanitarian
assistance in conflict situations, Japan will extend bilateral
and multilateral assistance flexibly and continuously for
peace-building in accordance with the changing situation,
ranging from assistance to expedite the ending of conflicts
to assistance for the stabilization of peace and nation-building
in post-conflict situations.
For example, ODA will be used for: assistance to facilitate
the peace processes; humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance,
such as assistance for displaced persons and for the restoration
of basic infrastructure; assistance for assuring domestic
stability and security, including disarmament, demobilization,
and reintegration of ex-combatants (DDR), and the collection
and disposal of weapons, including demining; and assistance
for reconstruction, including social and economic development
and the enhancement of the administrative capabilities of
4. Priority Regions
In light of the objectives stated above, Asia, a region with
close relationship with Japan and which can have a major impact
on Japan's stability and prosperity, is a priority region
for Japan. However, Japan will strategically prioritize assistance
to Asian countries, fully taking into account the diversity
of the Asian countries' socioeconomic conditions and changes
in their respective assistance needs. In particular, the East
Asian region which includes ASEAN is expanding and deepening
economic interdependency and has been making efforts to enhance
its regional competitiveness by maintaining economic growth
and strengthening integration in recent years. ODA will be
utilized to forge stronger relations with this region and
to rectify disparities in the region, fully considering such
factors as the strengthening of economic partnership with
East Asian countries.
Also, Japan will give due consideration to the large population
of impoverished people in South Asia. With respect to Central
Asia and the Caucasus region, assistance will be provided
to promote democratization and transition to market economies.
Japan will prioritize its assistance for other regions on
the basis of the objectives, basic policies, and priority
issues set out in this Charter, giving consideration to the
needs for assistance and the state of development in each
Africa has a large number of least developed countries, and
is affected by conflicts and serious development issues, amid
which self-help efforts are being stepped up. Japan will provide
assistance for these efforts.
The Middle East is an important region for energy supply
and for the peace and stability of the international community,
but it has destabilizing factors including the Middle East
peace process. Japan will provide assistance towards social
stability and the consolidation of peace.
Latin America includes countries that are relatively well
developed, but also island nations with fragile economies.
Taking into consideration the disparities arising within the
region as well as within countries, Japan will extend necessary
With respect to Oceania, assistance will be provided, as
there are numerous vulnerable island nations.
II. Principle of ODA Implementation
In line with the philosophy set out above, Japan's ODA will
be provided by comprehensively taking into account developing
countries' need for assistance, its socio-economic conditions,
and Japan's bilateral relations with the recipient country,
and ODA will be provided in accordance with the principles
of the United Nations (especially sovereign equality and non-intervention
in domestic matters) as well as the following principles:
(1) Environmental conservation and development should be
pursued in tandem.
(2) Any use of ODA for military purposes or for aggravation
of international conflicts should be avoided.
(3) Full attention should be paid to trends in recipient
countries' military expenditures, their development and production
of weapons of mass destruction and missiles, their export
and import of arms, etc., so as to maintain and strengthen
international peace and stability, including the prevention
of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
and from the viewpoint that developing countries should place
appropriate priorities in the allocation of their resources
on their own economic and social development.
(4) Full attention should be paid to efforts for promoting
democratization and introduction of a market-oriented economy,
and the situation regarding the protection of basic human
rights and freedoms in the recipient country.
III. Formulation and Implementation of ODA Policy
1. System of Formulation and Implementation of ODA Policy
(1) Coherent formulation of ODA policy
In order to ensure that the government in its entirety implements
ODA efficiently and effectively in a unified and coherent
manner pursuant to this Charter, medium-term ODA policies
and country assistance programs will be formulated, taking
into account the partnership and collaboration with the international
community referred to in the Basic Policies and ODA policies
will be formulated and implemented in accordance with them.
Country assistance programs will be drawn up for major recipient
countries, and will set out explicitly the points to which
priority is to be given, based on Japan's aid policy, and
reflecting the recipient countries' true assistance needs.
In accordance with these medium-term ODA policies and country
assistance programs, various methods of assistance--financial
cooperation in the form of loans and grants, and technical
cooperation--will be linked together effectively so as to
take full advantage of the characteristics of each method.
At the same time, Japan will be mindful of the balance between
hardware type cooperation such as construction and provision
of equipment, and software type cooperation such as technical
cooperation and institution building. Each method will be
(2) Collaboration among related government ministries and
In order to ensure that the government as a whole formulates
and implements policies in a unified and coherent manner,
under the auspices of the Council of Overseas Economic Cooperation-Related
Ministers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will play the central
coordinating role in strengthening broad collaboration between
the ODA-related government ministries and agencies, including
by means of personnel exchanges and by utilizing the expertise
of those related ministries and agencies. For this purpose,
the government ministries and agencies will actively use consultation
fora such as the Inter-Ministerial Meeting on ODA.
(3) Collaboration between government and implementing agencies
While making clear the roles of the government and the implementing
agencies (the Japan International Cooperation Agency* and
the Japan Bank for International Cooperation) and the apportionment
of responsibilities among them, collaboration will be strengthened,
including by means of personnel exchanges to ensure an organic
linkage between the government and the implementing agencies.
In addition, implementing agencies will strengthen their mutual
(4) Strengthening of policy consultation
In formulating and implementing assistance policies, it is
essential to fully grasp the development policies and assistance
needs of developing countries by engaging actively in policy
consultation before requests are made by developing countries.
At the same time, Japan will set out its assistance policies
to the developing countries through dialogue, and the development
policies of developing countries and Japan's assistance policy
will be reconciled in order to maximize the effect of Japan's
aid within those developing countries' development strategies.
Furthermore, Japan will support efforts by developing countries
to improve their policies and systems, including the ability
to formulate and implement assistance projects. Japan will
also take into consideration whether such efforts by the developing
countries are sufficient in the implementation of ODA.
(5) Strengthening of the functions of field missions in the
policy-making process and in implementation
The functions of field missions (primarily overseas diplomatic
missions and offices of implementing agencies) will be strengthened,
so that they will be able to play a leading role in the policy-making
process and in implementation. In particular, steps will be
taken to develop a framework for strengthening the system,
including through the use of outside personnel. Japan will
also make efforts to make comprehensive and accurate assessments
of developing countries' development policies and assistance
needs, primarily at the local level. Japan will comprehensively
identify local socioeconomic conditions and other aspects
through local interested parties.
(6) Collaboration with aid-related entities
Collaboration with Japanese NGOs, universities, local governments,
economic organizations, labor organizations, and other related
stakeholders will be strengthened to facilitate their participation
in ODA and to utilize their technologies and expertise. Japan
will also seek to collaborate with similar entities overseas,
particularly in developing countries. In addition, in the
implementation of ODA, appropriate use will be made of the
technologies and expertise of Japanese private companies.
2. Increasing public participation
(1) Broad participation by Japanese citizens from all walks
The government will take measures to foster participation
in assistance activities by Japanese citizens from all walks
of life, and to promote these citizens' interaction with developing
countries. Such measures will include providing sufficient
information, listening to public opinion, soliciting proposals
for ODA activities, and extending cooperation to volunteer
(2) Human resource development and development research
The government will make efforts to foster aid personnel
with the necessary expertise and to increase the opportunities
for aid personnel to be active both within Japan and overseas.
In parallel with these efforts, high-quality personnel, such
as persons with considerable overseas experience and extensive
knowledge, will be widely sought and be encouraged to participate
in ODA activities.
In addition, the government will encourage regional studies
relating to developing countries and research on development
policy, to promote accumulation of Japan's intellectual assets
in the development sphere.
(3) Development education
Development education is important for promoting public understanding
with respect to international cooperation including ODA, and
for fostering people that will be engaged in international
cooperation in the future. In this perspective, the government
will take measures in school and on other occasions to carry
out more widespread education on development issues, such
as the problems that face developing countries, relations
between Japan and developing countries and the role that development
assistance should play. Necessary educational materials will
be distributed and teachers will be trained.
(4) Information disclosure and public relations
It is important for information on ODA policy, implementation,
and evaluation to be disclosed widely and promptly to ensure
the sufficient transparency, and for it be publicized actively.
Therefore, the government will use a variety of means to provide
information in easy-to-understand formats, and to create opportunities
for Japanese citizens to come into contact with ODA activities
that Japan is undertaking.
In addition, the government will make enhanced efforts to
disseminate information regarding Japan's ODA to developing
countries as well as other donors.
3. Matters Essential to Effective Implementation
(1) Enhancement of evaluation
The government will carry out consecutive evaluations at
all stages, i.e. ex-ante, mid-term, and ex-post, and evaluations
at each level, i.e. policy, program, and project. Furthermore,
in order to measure, analyze and objectively evaluate the
outcome of ODA, third-party evaluations conducted by experts
will be enhanced while the government undertakes policy evaluations.
The evaluation results will be reflected in subsequent ODA
policy-making and efficient and effective implementation.
(2) Ensuring appropriate procedures
The government will adopt procedures to ensure that full
consideration is given to the environmental and social impact
of implementation of ODA. The government will make efforts
to conduct appropriate and efficient procurement with regard
to quality and price. At the same time, while ensuring these
aspects, the procedures will be simplified and accelerated.
(3) Prevention of fraud and corruption
The government will implement appropriate measures to ensure
the transparency of the activity-selection and implementation
process, and to prevent fraud, corruption, and improper diversion
of aid. In addition, the government will make efforts to assure
the appropriate use of funds by enhancing auditing, including
through the introduction of external audits.
(4) Ensuring the safety of ODA personnel
Safeguarding the lives and personal safety of ODA personnel
is a prerequisite for the implementation of ODA. The government
will fully obtain security related information and will take
IV. Reporting on the Status of Implementation of the Official
Development Assistance Charter
The government will report the status of the implementation
of the Official Development Assistance Charter in the "White
Paper on Official Development Assistance (ODA)," which
is reported annually to the Cabinet.
* On October 1, 2003, the Japan International Cooperation
Agency is due to be reorganized as an independent administrative
institution, changing its status from that of a special public
August 29, 2003