Chinese-Japanese Relations in the Twenty-First Century: Complementarity and Conflict

By Marie Söderberg | Go to book overview

7

The role of ODA in the relationship

Marie Söderberg

Japan has advanced from being an aid recipient after WWII, to being the largest donor of foreign aid in the world. In fact, around one-fifth of all the Official Development Assistance (ODA) 1 from the industrialised countries today comes from Japan. As the world's second largest economy, Japan believes it has a responsibility to contribute to sustainable social and economic development in the world and hopes that such a contribution will win Japan the confidence and appreciation of the international community and ensure its own stability and prosperity.

For some years now China has been one of the main recipients of foreign aid. The largest contributor of all, in a class of its own, is Japan. Much of the Japanese aid to China has been in the form of financial support for economic infrastructure (such as roads, railways, ports, etc.). In the early days of Japanese aid to China, Japan maintained a policy of separating politics from economics (seikei bunrei), with recipients presenting projects that they requested aid for, but recently Japan has begun to attach a number of conditions to its aid. Now Japan formulates 'country assistance programmes' for all of its main recipients.

This change in ODA policy has made Japan's already complex relationship with China even more complicated. Japan's attempts to guide China on its path of development and using the freezing of aid as a tool to protest against certain Chinese actions, such as nuclear testing, has in fact turned ODA into another 'issue' between the two countries. A prolonged debate and difficulties in the formulation of a country assistance programme for China have revealed the depth of distrust and dissatisfaction that exist in their relationship. A recent Japanese report 2 suggests drastic changes in ODA policy towards China, turning aid from economic infrastructure towards 'soft' issues such as poverty alleviation and environmental clean-up. Considering Japan's own stagnant economy during the 1990s and the severe fiscal deficit, a general cut in ODA spending has also been announced, 3 although Japan will still be one of the major donors, if not the main donor. This cut is likely to be more severe towards China than towards most other countries.

Japan's ODA policy is, like that of most other donor countries, in a process of constant change. A considerable amount of research has been done about the different aspects of the policy-making process of Japanese ODA, such as the role

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Chinese-Japanese Relations in the Twenty-First Century: Complementarity and Conflict
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Preface xi
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Note on Names xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 9
  • 1 - Mirror for the Future or the History Card? 10
  • 2 - Sino-Japanese Relations in the Context of the Beijing-Tokyo- Washington Triangle 32
  • 3 - Engagement Japanese Style 52
  • 4 - Sino-Japanese Relations and Ballistic Missile Defence (Bmd) 69
  • 5 - The Taiwan Question 88
  • 6 - The Background and Trend of the Partnership 103
  • 7 - The Role of Oda in the Relationship 114
  • 8 - Economic Relations 130
  • 9 - Japanese Firms in China 154
  • 10 - Managing the Global-Local Dilemma 177
  • Index 195
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