zoom RSS ODA大綱改定 平和構築へ戦略性を高めよ

<<   作成日時 : 2014/06/30 11:48   >>

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The Yomiuri Shimbun
Peace-building efforts should be strategic priority of ODA
ODA大綱改定 平和構築へ戦略性を高めよ

Japan should make active use of its official development assistance programs to help crystallize the goal of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in transforming the country into a “proactive contributor to peace.”

On Thursday, a Foreign Ministry panel of experts presented a report to Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida after wrapping up discussions on a review of Japan’s ODA Charter, a set of principles governing the country’s overseas development aid. The government is set to give Cabinet approval to a new ODA Charter by the end of the year, completing the first major review in 11 years.

The report cites the “pursuit of international peace through nonmilitary activities” as one of the guiding principles of ODA funding.

Conventionally, the government has banned assisting foreign military forces with Japan’s ODA. The report by the panel, however, recommends that aid to foreign militaries be permitted on a case-by-case basis, asserting that support for armed forces activities concerning nonmilitary objectives such as stabilizing citizens’ livelihoods and disaster relief “should not be excluded uniformly” simply because they are military-related.

A number of potential projects would be included in the envisioned uses of ODA funding, including improvement of ports, harbors and airports for joint military and civilian use and inviting military personnel from abroad for disaster relief training and other nonmilitary operations.

Many countries have been utilizing military forces in peace-building, the enhancement of people’s living standards and other objectives. ODA disbursements are an important diplomatic policy resource for Japan, and utilizing those funds for such purposes is commendable and in keeping with the philosophy of “proactive contribution to peace.”

Coordination with U.N.

Regarding ODA funding for the purpose of peace-building, the government has decided to provide the Philippines with 10 patrol boats using yen loans. A provision of patrol boats to Vietnam is also being considered.

China has been maneuvering to make maritime advances by force in the South China Sea. Helping the Philippines and Vietnam beef up their maritime security capabilities will help to ensure the safety of key sea lanes vital to maritime transport of trade and energy for Japan. Such strategic use of ODA must be expanded.

The report also proposes advocating strengthened coordination between Japan’s ODA and U.N. peacekeeping activities. This suggestion is based on the National Security Strategy approved by the Cabinet last December, which calls for a similar roadmap.

Under the strategy, Self-Defense Forces members participating in U.N. peacekeeping activities will engage in projects such as building roads and facilities, while the Japan International Cooperation Agency helps ODA-recipient countries expedite their nation-building endeavors. Every possible effort must be made to ensure optimal synergy between SDF activities and JICA operations.

Japan’s ODA missions are marking their 60th anniversary this year. The government’s budgetary appropriations for ODA projects peaked in fiscal 1997 at about \1.17 trillion, and have been on the decline, standing at about \550 billion for the current fiscal year, less than half the peak level. Now is the time to put the brakes on the downward trend in ODA outlays.

The report also stresses the significance of increasing the roles played by private-sector funds in developmental cooperation fields.

It is estimated that private-sector funds flowing from industrially advanced countries into developing countries total around 2.5 times as much capital as the aggregate of all global ODA.

Improving infrastructure in developing nations though an organic linking of government ODA with the business activities of Japanese companies should run parallel to Japan’s growth strategy.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 27, 2014)

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