ABSTRACT

Now that Japan has achieved the status of the world’s largest donor of official development assistance, the philosophy of Japanese foreign aid is of great public interest, especially for taxpayers who are footing the bill. Japan’s reputation as an aid donor has never been free of criticism (as we shall see in Chapter 2), and much of that has centred on the motives and objectives in giving aid, particularly in view of Japan’s poor record on aid quality when compared to other donors. Until recent years aid did not have a high public profile in Japan, nor did it attract much press or political comment. The formal explanations for aid-giving emanating from the government and the private sector were therefore accepted without too much scrutiny. Today, however, there is close public attention paid to the underlying philosophy of Japan’s aid, and the government is more aggressively articulate in defending the reasons for its aid policies. The higher the international aid profile of Japan, the more intense is the scrutiny of the Japanese aid philosophy, both at home and abroad.