10:00 am EST - 11:30 am EST

Past Event

Revising Japan’s ODA charter: Aiding national security?

Friday, February 13, 2015

10:00 am - 11:30 am EST

The Brookings Institution
Saul/Zilkha Room

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC

During his second turn as Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe has promoted a policy of “proactive pacifism.” One of several strategic steps taken to further this policy has been to revise Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) Charter. Japan has been a world leader in foreign aid since the 1960s, but the ODA Charter was only put in place in 1992. It was revised once in 2003 and this second round of revisions is expected to be approved soon by the Diet, the Japanese legislature. One of the main purposes of the revisions is to enable utilization of ODA as a tool for advancing some of Japan’s national security goals, through loosening some restrictions on the types of activities and organizations that can be funded. Changes to Japan’s overseas aid and development programs are inevitable; potential side-effects of these changes are unclear.

On February 13, the Center for East Asia Policy Studies hosted a discussion on the implications of the ODA Charter revisions for Japan’s foreign policy. A panel of experts offered insights into the main changes in the revised ODA Charter, what role ODA will now play in Japan’s national security strategy, and how the revisions will influence Japan’s implementation of economic assistance programs.