Japan changes policy to support foreign troops

30/10/2014


The Japanese government is considering to amend a policy which provide official development assistance (ODA). Accordingly, Japan can support non-military sectors to developing countries.
On October 23, the Japanese government notified that they have compiled a draft to the new foreign aid, allowing use of its ODA to support foreign military forces in non-combat operations, including disaster relief operations and coast guard. The new charter will be renamed “Charter of development and cooperation”.
This is the first time after 11 years, Japan has revised ODA policy. In the first revision since 2003, the draft Charter ODA will support lifting the ban on foreign military forces by such treasury which raises concerns that such aid can be used for military purposes. The draft amendment calls for Japan “to contribute to peace and prosperity through non-military cooperation” and stresses that the implementation of “a society of peace and security” and “sharing the cost of common values”.
In the draft submitted to the Foreign Relations Committee of the Liberal Democratic Party on October 23, the policy of providing ODA also added a goal is to “contribute to ensuring national interests”. Current policies of providing ODA only aims at “contributing to peace and development of the international community”.
Related to supporting foreign military forces, the Japanese government will consider each particular case, as well as recognize the need to extend capital support. In particular, Japan will maintain its ODA policy which does not extend to foreign troops by strict observance of statutory construction to avoid using aid to international conflicts.
Current Japan’s ODA policy is banned to aid for projects related to the military in any way whatsoever. Accordingly, the ODA was not used to finance the provision of military equipment for non-military purposes as well as foreign military personnel trained in both disaster recovery. Therefore, the revised regulations will be a significant step forward in the national security policy of Japan.
The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to amend the charter to allocate more than $10 billion of annual ODA to assist developing countries and reflect the changing international scene now. Up to now, ODA is mainly used in the construction of infrastructure and the alleviation of poverty in the country to receive funding through loans, grants and technical cooperation.
In March, the Asahi Newspaper once said that the government of Prime Minister Abe was trying to amend the Charters of ODA program to pave the way for military aid to foreign countries. The Japanese government believes these changes are necessary  for ODA  “to play an important role” in promoting defense. “To promote universal values ​​such as freedom, democracy and human rights, the ODA will play a role in the areas related to security”, Deputy Foreign Minister X. Kihara said to the Asahi Newspaper on March 31 in the first meeting of the expert group to review the ODA charter of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
As known since coming to power, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has referred to experiences for development of salvage operations between defense forces and the US military after the storm Haiyan in Philippines, focused on a situation which is the role of the military in non-military areas such as disaster relief, and disaster mitigation.
In 2012, the Japanese Ministry of Defense began providing technical support non-combat without the use of ODA for the Department of Defense and Military in several countries in Southeast Asia. However, in recent times, in response to seeing the expanded diplomatic presence and efforts by Beijing who offers aid to developing countries, the Japanese government has sought to use a part of ODA to promote security initiatives. National Security Strategy for Japan, which was approved by Cabinet in last December, stipulates: “The strategic use of ODA capital of Japan must implement through proactive and aggressive contribution to peace”.
This modified scheme also emphasizes the strengthening of links with private companies in Japan to effectively implement ODA projects. As expected, the proposal would amend ODA policy by the government of Japan through this year.

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