No longer the top dog, Japan languishes in fifth place in foreign aid

TOKYO – Japan distributed more foreign aid than other countries in the 1990s, but now only ranks fifth, partly at the end of aid to China.

Japan’s official development assistance amounted to $ 13.6 billion in 2020, up 17% over the year. But its share of the overall amount provided by members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee fell to 8% from the 1990 figure of 17%.

These net figures – aid provided minus loans repaid – are based on CAD data.

Japan was the top supplier in the 1990s but has gradually slipped in the rankings. The United States was the top supplier in 2020 with $ 35.1 billion, with Germany in second place.

The United States increased its aid following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, aimed at supporting the development of emerging countries to prevent poverty from leading to violence. European nations have also increased their aid during this decade.

Japan has increased aid over the past five years, up about 50% from the $ 9.2 billion in 2015. It was thanks to a cabinet decision that year to change policy. to facilitate aid to countries whose economies have grown too large. Conditions of eligibility.

The change also allowed Japan to provide assistance to foreign armed forces for non-military purposes, such as disaster relief. Japan has sought to counter Chinese initiatives aimed at stepping up aid to emerging countries.

China was once the largest recipient of Japan’s largesse, with aid starting in 1979. The support, which initially went mostly to infrastructure projects, helped lay the groundwork for China’s economic growth. But opposition to Japanese aid has grown in China as bilateral relations have cooled for a variety of reasons, including differences over the history of the war.

Japan’s aid to China started to wane after peaking in 2000, and Japan stopped offering new yen loans in 2007. In 2018, then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced told Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a visit to Beijing that Japan would end ODA to China.

Japan’s aid to Northeast Asia, including China, accounted for 8% of Japan’s bilateral ODA in 1991, according to the Foreign Ministry. But the net aid is now negative because the amounts clawed back on past loans exceed the aid provided.

India was the first recipient of Japanese aid in 2019, with Bangladesh and Myanmar in second. India adopted Japan shinkansen high speed train technology for a high speed rail line under construction. Bangladesh is about to receive yen loans to build transport infrastructure.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on May 5 that Japan was ready to give India a grant of up to $ 50 million to fight COVID-19. Behind this decision lies the hope that India will become a key partner as Japan takes on China.

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