Japan needs to review the effectiveness of the aid it extends to developing countries and cut unnecessary official development assistance, Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka said Tuesday.

In her address to a morning session of the ministry’s panel on ODA reform, Tanaka said she believes the review is necessary as part of an overall spending review by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

“Some projects, initiated out of good will, are not functioning well,” Tanaka said. “From the taxpayer viewpoint, it is necessary that ODA be used effectively.”

Tanaka pointed out there are many rumors about ineffective projects, including those discussed in the Diet.

She was apparently referring to a question raised by a Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker over a hydroelectric project in Kenya that is said to be damaging the environment.

Kenya’s ability to repay the loans extended by Japan is also in question.

Tanaka told a session of the House of Councilors’ Foreign and Defense Affairs Committee last week that she will look into the case.

Launched in late May, the 14-member ODA reform panel is discussing how ODA can meet Japan’s national interests amid mounting calls to cut budgetary allocations in light of the country’s tight fiscal situation.

The panel, which will release an interim report in July, will submit its final report to the minister in November.

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