Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management (AJEDM)

Volume 2 Number 1 (2010)

Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management 2010 2 1

doi: 10.3850/S1793924010000398

Japanese Support to the Interim Mekong Committee During Post-Conflict Recovery of Member States

Mikiyasu Nakayama
Department of International Studies, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo, 5-1-1, Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa-shi, Chiba, 277-8563, Japan.


The Japanese Government has been among the major donors to the Mekong Committee, since its establishment in 1957. A major aim of the Mekong Committee is economic development of the Indochina countries (i.e., Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam) through water resource development, in order to avoid the proliferation of communismin this region. This particular aim did not, however, materialize. Socialist regimes were established in the mid-1970s in three of the four Mekong Committee member states (Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam). Countries in the Western Bloc withdrew assistance to these nations. The Japanese Government continued support to the InterimMekong Committee established in 1978,which lacked Cambodia out of the original Mekong Committee member states. Support given to the Interim Mekong Committee was initially instrumental in promoting economic development in Thailand, the only remaining non-socialist country. This effort also maintained the interest of the international community in a region-wide economic development scheme for the Indochina region. The presence of the Interim Mekong Committee led to large-scale regional development schemes, such as the (Greater Mekong Sub-region) initiated by the Asian Development Bank. The continued support by the Japanese Government to the region through the Interim Mekong Committee effectively served as a catalyst to maintain interest and support by Japan and theWestern Bloc countries in the late 1970s to 1980s.

Keywords: Japanese assistance, Mekong Committee, Mekong river, Post-conflict.

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