Critical Review on Changing Characteristics of Japan’s Development Assistance and Some Responses of Civil Society

This paper critically examines the transformation of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), highlighting strategic shifts towards fostering stronger security cooperation with Southeast Asian countries. Last year, the Japanese government also introduced a new cooperation framework distinct from ODA, aimed at benefiting the armed forces and related organisations of developing countries in terms of security cooperation, called the Official Security Assistance (OSA) framework. With this new framework, the government has already provided some defence equipment such as coastal surveillance radars and patrol boats to improve the security capabilities of Bangladesh and the Philippines. Against this major and drastic shift within Japan’s history of government assistance, most civil society organisations in Japan have responded and advocated to maintain the “non-war” principle of Japan’s ODA and instead empower non-military-based approaches to security such as human security. However, looking into the details of their discussion, there are various positions of understanding about the significance of military approaches, particularly reflecting the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and even the new round of Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The paper discusses, in these uncertain and complex contexts, what educational advancements civil society needs to foster - that are responsive to the evolving needs of global communities in the 21st century.

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