The nexus between Japan’s development cooperation and security policy
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs
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The recent hostage crisis in the Middle East involving two
Japanese citizens laid bare Japan’s attempts to implement a more active role
for itself in international security, through a strategic use of development
cooperation and by aiming to loosen the restrictions on Japan’s military in the
Throughout the post-war era, Japan has consistently applied
Official Development Assistance (ODA) as an effective mechanism for promoting
its own national interests, for example through tied aid and by providing loans
rather than grants.
The release earlier this year of a new Development
Cooperation Charter clearly reveals the securitization of ODA, or the use of
aid for a more rigidly defined strategic use.
The hostage crisis furthermore fuels the debate on a
possible revision of Japan’s constitution, and breathes new life into the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s long-cherished goal of revising Japan’s key
While at first sight neither the securitization of aid nor
the incipient debate on the constitution are marked by huge immediate changes,
they nevertheless represent a significant incremental step towards the
accomplishment of the ruling conservative party’s grand strategy and the new
course it is mapping out for Japan.