On Dec. 16, the administration of Fumio Kishida adopted Japan’s second national security strategy.

Since 2013 the NSS has been published to provide a comprehensive guiding framework for Japan’s security policy. The new document that was published under the initially thought dovish administration of Kishida has envisaged far-reaching changes to address the “most severe and complex security environment since the end of WWII,” according to Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi. Attracting great public attention were the plans to double defense spending to 2% of gross domestic product by 2027 and to develop counterstrike capabilities .

One field in the NSS that has attracted less attention is the role of Japan’s development cooperation, also commonly known as official development assistance. Having been a central element in the country’s postwar foreign policy, the changes deserve strong attention. In addition, looking at Japan’s development cooperation helps to understand the nation’s foreign policy intentions in a broader context.