H.E. Mr. Shigeo
International Conference on Financing for Development
I speak here today as the representative of the world's largest donor. But in the years immediately after World War II, Japan was dependent on aid from other countries even for its food. At the time I was a junior high school student. And when I think back to that time, I confess I become rather emotional.
That Japan has been able to recover from such a plight to achieve its current prosperity is due to the heartfelt and continuing commitment to peace of every Japanese citizen, and to their search for a better life. It is the striving of every individual in a society based on a belief in the future that is the most powerful driving force behind nation-building. The foundation of Japan's development was its "ownership" of that development-that is to say, we undertook our own development with our own efforts.
Of course, Japan also amply enjoyed the benefit of "partnership" in the form of support from other countries and international organizations-the whole world joining hands in mutual support and cooperation. The Shinkansen "bullet train" railway system, known throughout the world, began operation at the time of the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 with the help of a loan from the World Bank. Perhaps I might mention here, since possibly it is not well known, that the repayment of Japan's debt to the World Bank continued until as late as 1990.
Japan understands from its own experience how important for development both ownership and partnership are. When Japan subsequently became prosperous, it embarked on a program of development aid founded on this understanding, which I am sure is still correct. Our friends in Asia, to give an example of the successful application of the principle of ownership, have achieved development. Today, Japan feels greatly encouraged when it sees its Southeast Asian friends on the way to changing their status from recipients to donors of aid. Japan has also contributed to strengthening both the ownership of African countries and partnership by the international community for Africa's development, by organizing the first Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD I) in 1993. In the latter half of 2003, we want to encourage further efforts by the international community aimed at African development by holding the TICAD III.
First, in order to reduce poverty and achieve successful development, setting clear goals is essential. It is important for the international community to set up firm goals, and make every possible effort to realize them so that optimum outputs can be achieved. The Millennium Development Goals set at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000 were precisely such goals.
Particularly important, in Japan's view, for achieving these goals are the areas of education, health care, and the environment. For example, in the field of health care, Japan as the host country of the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit in 2000, stressed the importance of measures to deal with infectious diseases and at the same time announced a three-billion-dollar support program over five years which has been implemented steadily. On top of that, in the course of subsequdnt discussions and debate, it was decided to establish the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. In this context, too, Japan has been playing a central role.
Second, nation building cannot be accomplished without sustainable growth. It is therefore necessary to make use of diverse financial resources. It goes without saying that official development assistance plays an important part in development, and Japan has up to now disbursed some 200 billion dollars in ODA to that end. Moreover, whereas the total amount of aid from the international community as a whole has declined over the past 10 years, Japan has increased its official development assistance by 49 percent. The amount disbursed for the year 2000 was 13.5 billion dollars.
On the other hand, we must not forget that private flows, which amount to three times as large as ODA, also have a significant role to play in development. Trade, too, is important, and the value of Japan's imports from developing countries is worth 200 billion dollars per annum. In advancing development, it is necessary to skillfully combine diverse resources: domestic resources, international resources (including foreign direct investments), trade, and aid. I believe that the Monterrey Consensus that we have agreed on represents an appropriate balance as regards the utilization of a variety of development resources.
Third, it is important to adopt an approach that places people at the
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