Currently I am working intensively with Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)
and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) for the purpose of
reformulating Japan's economic assistance strategy (including ODA).
From January 2002, my wife, Izumi Ohno (JBIC), also joined me at GRIPS
Development Forum (a new research unit) to improve Japan's external policy.
My trip to Paris and Washington was part of this effort.
I was asked by MOFA to present an emerging Japanese view at the OECD Forum
(held in parallel with the OECD Ministerial Council meeting). Although I spoke
only ten minutes in a panel, there were lots of questions and responses from the
audience, and almost all of them were favorable. Many people continued to be
interested after the seminar, including Jagdish Bhagwati (Columbia Univ.), Braga
de Macedo (OECD Development Center chief), many delegations from Africa, E
Europe, World Economic Forum (Davos) reporter, etc.
Then I flew to Washington DC to give a seminar at the World Bank Institute
and African Department. I also gave another seminar for Japanese aid specialists
there. One person at the World Bank was skeptical and emotional, and a few
people cautioned about attacking the global trend so directly. But the vast
majority of the responses were very, very positive.
I continue to receive encouraging email from Europe and USA even now.
What I argued (and what the Japanese government is trying to argue) was as
Currently, the global development trend is for poverty reduction only.
This is a bit too extreme. There should be other development goals and
strategies, and each country should be able to choose them, not the World
Besides cutting poverty, another valid development strategy is;
participation in the world economy through industry, trade and investment in
order to become a competitor, not an aid receiver.
This strategy was commonly adopted in East Asia, and Japanese ODA has been
used to support the developing countries' effort to integrate fruitfully
(including infrastructure, human resource development, policy advice, etc.)
Japan should have two ODA principles: (i) contribute to global concerns
(including poverty); and (ii) support Asian dynamism. We will
cooperate with East Asian countries on this, and will also try to help
countries outside East Asia with similar aspiration and where conditions are