National

Japan to link ODA to promotion of its ‘Indo-Pacific’ strategy

Kyodo

Japan plans to use foreign aid distributed to developing countries as part of a bid to promote its “free and open Indo-Pacific” strategy, according to the draft annual paper on its official development assistance, sources said.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono is expected to serve up a report on the 2017 ODA white paper at a Cabinet meeting Friday. Japan is working hard to maintain a so-called rules-based order across a vast area stretching from East Asia to Africa.

According to the draft, Japan will provide Southeast Asian countries with patrol vessels and related equipment to help strengthen their ability to enforce maritime law, the sources said Sunday.

Through use of ODA, Tokyo aims to improve high-quality infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific region and promote the flow of people and goods, according to the draft.

Among global issues, the white paper said that Japan will engage in what it calls “seamless assistance” to prevent regional conflicts by linking humanitarian aid and ODA.

The paper also said Japan will take the lead in promoting universal health coverage, an international goal under which all people and communities can use necessary health services without facing financial hardships.

In 2016, Japan ranked fourth in terms of foreign aid, doling out $16.8 billion. The United States, Germany and Britain were the top three donors.