Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management (AJEDM)

Volume 2 Number 3 (2010)

Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management 2010 2 3

doi: 10.3850/S1793924011000460

Policy Transitions in Japanese ODA for Disaster Risk Reduction in Developing Countries

Hidetomi Oia and Junko Mimakib
Japan International Cooperation Agency, 5-25Nibancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8012 Japan.


The Japanese Government's Official Development Assistance (ODA) began as a part of war reparations to Asian countries in 1950s. Since then, ODA in the area of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) focused on the construction of infrastructure in order to spur recovery from the devastation brought by war as well as to help achieve economic development in the future. Half a century has passed since the commencement of Japan's ODA program, and the environment in which it operates has changed drastically since then. In addition, the number of disasters has been increasing due to various factors such as the concentration of population in high risk areas and climate change. The international community consistently emphasized the importance of addressing disaster risks during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR, 1990–1999) and at subsequent international conferences. Under such circumstances, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) revised its policy of assistance for DRR, shifting emphasis from a "hard approach" to a more comprehensive approach including some "softer" elements in order to respond more effectively and flexibly to the varied situations of developing countries as well as to contribute to realizing people's human security. Given this background, this article reviews the transition in JICA's policy approach and makes a proposal for JICA to contribute more effectively to disaster reduction in developing countries in the future.

Keywords: Japanese government's official development assistance (ODA), Hard approach, Soft approach, CBDM, Hyogo framework of action (HFA).

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