Comment by Professor Yamagata:
The circumstances surrounding organizations involved in international cooperation in Japan have drastically changed since 2015. This is due to the sharp increase in procurement of Japanese goods and orders made to Japanese companies as a result of the Japanese government offering Official Development Aid (ODA) to developing countries through a variety of projects. Such practices are not only apparent in Japan, but also amongst other donor countries, as evident from the fact that “______ First” has now become a rather commonly used phrase. Following this trend, the Japanese government has equated the objectives of protecting Japan’s national interest with the objectives of development cooperation in the Development Cooperation Charter in 2015. This has greatly puzzled experts working for international cooperation who believe that the implementation of ODA-related projects is fundamentally for the benefit of people in developing countries.
This book seeks to address the bewilderment of said experts through 2 possible explanations. The first is to consider that the “National Interest of Japan” may be interpreted as Japanese people’s desire to be incorporated in ODA efforts. If Japanese people want to include humanitarian purposes in Japan’s ODA efforts, then the implementation of such efforts would equate to protecting its national interest. The second is the Japanese government’s attempt to not only pursue national interest through ODA, but also to contribute to the world as a whole, thereby creating a win-win situation for all parties involved. It is completely up to the readers to determine which way of thinking is more agreeable.
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