China falls to No. 2 spot on aid list

China fell from being the largest recipient of Japanese official development assistance in 1996 after Tokyo temporarily froze grants-in-aid to protest Beijing conducting nuclear tests, the Foreign Ministry said May 30.

Indonesia became the top aid recipient, with $965.5 million, up 8.2 percent from the previous year, according to the ministry’s annual report on ODA. Economic aid to China fell 37.6 percent to $861.4 million, the second-largest figure. Thailand was the No. 3 recipient, with $663.95 million, India was fourth with $579.26 million and the Philippines fifth at $414.4 million.

Aid to member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations totaled $1.69 billion. Nearly half of Japan’s ODA extended on a bilateral basis went to Asian countries, while 12.8 percent was extended to African states, according to the report.

China held the top position for the three years between 1993 and 1995. Tokyo formally resumed its grant-in-aid to Beijing in late March, when Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda and his Chinese counterpart, Qian Qichen, exchanged notes on a project worth 1.7 billion yen to supply medical equipment for the treatment of women and children in Nanjing. Tokyo put on hold grant-in-aid to Beijing in August 1995 to protest China’s nuclear tests. China conducted its final nuclear test last July and later announced a decision to join a nuclear moratorium.