Over the years, Japanese prime ministers have made only token gestures to aid policy. Fukuda packaged it into his Asian policy, Ohira wove it into his Pacific policy, for Nakasone it was simply an element in his Western alliance support. Takeshita highlighted it in his three-pronged proposal for Japan’s contribution to the world, but it was only the reputedly weakest and least-likely-to-succeed premier, Mr Kaifu, who made any real progress towards fundamental change in the way bilateral aid is conceptualised. He did this by proposing on 12 April 1991 new guidelines for giving Japanese aid. Under these, the government would need to consider four aspects of a recipient’s policies: whether it develops or manufactures weapons of mass destruction (including nuclear weapons); its attempts to promote democracy; its effort to move towards a market-oriented economy; and its human rights record.1