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The Abe administration next month plans to introduce new guidelines on nation’s official development assistance (ODA) that will pave the way for aid to armed forces of other countries on condition that the assistance is used for non-military purposes. The aid can also be used for activities that are expected to help enhance Japan’s security interests.

These guidelines represent a departure from the traditional policy on economic aid by Japan, whose main thrust has been to aid developing countries in such areas as elimination of poverty, improvement of infrastructure, humanitarian assistance and environmental protection based on a principle that the aid will not be provided to armed forces of the recipients. As such, the move could deviate from the objective of Japan’s overseas aid to contribute to the well-being of people in developing nations.

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