Donor Profile


Last updated: April 26, 2024


ODA Spending

How much ODA does Japan contribute?

Japan’s ODA stood at US$21 billion in 2022, making Japan the 3rd largest OECD DAC donor country in absolute terms, and the largest in Asia.

ODA represented 0.39% of Japan’s GNI, making it the 16th-largest DAC donor relative to its GNI.

2023 preliminary data show Japan's rankings stayed the same in absolute terms but decreased in relative terms.

How is Japanese ODA changing?

As part of the government's stated intentions to increase ODA, total volume rose by 19% to 0.39% of GNI in 2022, mostly due to increased bilateral lending.

Where is Japanese ODA allocated?

Japan provided 89% of its ODA bilaterally in 2022, well above the 68% OECD DAC average. This included 11% of ODA reported as earmarked funding through multilaterals.

Bilateral Spending

Japan allocates the largest share of its bilateral ODA to infrastructure projects. In 2022, funding to this sector accounted for 36% of Japan’s bilateral ODA, growing 43% between 2021-2022. In June 2023, the Japanese government announced plans to expand its support for infrastructure in emerging economies, referred to in the plan as the “Global South”, through public-private partnerships. The revised strategy identified Southeast Asia, Pacific Island countries, and South Asia as target regions. It emphasized collaboration with willing countries and the World Bank to strengthen investment in supply chains, digital innovation, and infrastructure development. Specific areas of focus included dam restoration, energy transportation, and postal and logistics systems.

Japan channeled 71% of its bilateral ODA as loans in 2022, which was about nine times greater than the DAC average of 8%. This is largely explained by Japan’s focus on infrastructure projects, for which it typically offers loans with long grace periods and low interest rates. Japan’s use of loans in ODA is expected to increase. Despite Japan’s expressed intent to increase the use of NGOs in 2015, just 1% of ODA was channeled through NGOs in 2022, compared to the DAC average of 14%.

The largest share of Japan’s bilateral ODA, or 62%, went to LMICs in 2022, compared to the OECD DAC average of 26%. This was due in large part to Japan’s focus on Asian countries, such as India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines.

Multilateral Spending and Commitments

After an increase in multilateral contributions in 2021, attributable to contributions to the COVID-19 response, Japan's core contributions to multilateral organizations decreased sharply, from 19% of ODA in 2021 to 12% in 2022. This shift also placed Japan far below the DAC average of 32% contribution to multilateral organizations.

Recent commitments to multilateral organizations are summarized below.

Politics & Priorities

What is the current state of Japanese politics?

Japan is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. The national government is divided between the:

  • Prime Minister, who is elected by the National Diet;
  • National Diet consisting of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors;
  • and the Supreme Court.

The term of office for members of the House of Representatives is a period not exceeding four years, while the term of office for members of the House of Councillors is six years, with half of the members up for election every three years. Japan has a multi-party system, but the major parties currently represented in the National Diet include the Liberal Democratic Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party, Komeito, and the Japan Innovation Party.

Prime Minster Fumio Kishida, assumed office in October 2021.

Who is responsible for allocating Japanese ODA?

Click for more details on each actor.

What are Japan's development priorities?

Japan’s long-term development objectives are defined in its Development Cooperation Charter, which was revised in 2023.

The charter outlines four basic policies that will guide its development cooperation:

  • “Contributing to Peace and Prosperity”: A recommitment to contributing to peace and prosperity through non-military cooperation;
  • "Human Security in a New Era": Positioned human security as a central policy feature, resulting in greater investments in people;
  • "Co-creation of Social Values through Dialogue and Cooperation with Developing Countries": Set the goal of establishing shared social values with partner countries and leading to economic growth; and
  • "Leading the Dissemination and Implementation of International Rules and Guidelines Based on Inclusiveness, Transparency, and Fairness": Set out goals to support rule of law and fundamental human rights as a top priority for the government.

The government also highlighted three priority policy areas:

  • "Quality Growth": focused on inclusive, sustainable, and resilient development to eradicate poverty while addressing digital, food, and energy security challenges and benefiting both developing countries and Japan;
  • "Peace and Stability": comprised another commitment to promote governance, humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding, and maritime security, particularly under the vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific; and
  • "Addressing Complex and Serious Global Issues": foregrounded international cooperation to address climate change, health, disaster prevention, and education in order to achieve the SDGs.

Japan’s short-term development priorities are set in its annual Priority Policy for International Cooperation document and are foreshadowed in the annual budget, which is typically released in the preceding months. The Priority Policy has contained the same broad priorities since FY2016:

  • Peace and stability within the international community;
  • Responding to global challenges;
  • Economic diplomacy; and
  • Promotion of “high-quality growth.”

The government emphasizes the role of ODA as a strategic diplomatic and economic instrument in the Development Cooperation Charter and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy. This involves, for example, making use of bilateral ODA over multilateral assistance. These trends underscore Japan’s explicit references in its foreign policy documents to promoting national interests through ODA.

By issue

Global health: Japan was the 3rd largest donor to global health among members of the OECD DAC in 2022. Japan prioritizes global health in its ODA policy framework, the Development Cooperation Charter, with an emphasis on quality health care, infectious disease control, and UHC.

In November 2023, influential business leaders in Japan gathered for the 5th Global Health Academy. The Global Health Academy was designed to elevate awareness and interest in services and corporate endeavors contributing to global health. Representatives from the private and public sector focused on the pivotal role of the ‘last one mile’ in global health, exploring innovative approaches and transportation methods for vaccines and medical supplies in the challenging terrains of low- and middle-income countries.

The overarching initiative, known as Global Health Action, was featured at the end of the conference. Spearheaded by Japanese business leaders, the initiative aims to position Japan as a frontrunner in supporting global health, fostering innovation, and addressing both global and domestic health challenges. The initiative has a stated goal of consolidating and visualizing the diverse initiatives of Japanese companies in the global health sector. It unveiled the Global Health Map Site, which created a shared narrative of impactful contributions to global health. Japan has expressed interest in exploring greater corporate involvement in ODA delivery. Japan has called on private companies to take on a greater role globally and has adopted policies to encourage participation.

In May 2023, during Japan's G7 presidency, the G7 introduced the "G7 Hiroshima Vision for Equitable Access to Medical Countermeasures” to promote health innovation against pandemics and antimicrobial resistance.

In May 2022, Japan finalized a new global health policy, which focuses on strengthening preparedness, prevention, and response to public health crises, including pandemics, and on achieving more resilient, equitable, and sustainable UHC as the world copes with COVID-19 response. The policy also aims to increase Japan’s total health ODA and came in the lead-up to Japan’s G7 presidency in 2023.

Read more about Japan’s ODA to Global Health

Climate: Japan remained the largest DAC donor for climate-related ODA in both absolute and relative terms in 2022. Japan references both climate change mitigation and adaptation as priorities in its Development Cooperation Charter. In addition, the JICA Climate Cooperation Strategy, which was last updated in 2016, focuses on climate-resilient infrastructure, climate risk management, climate policy and institution building, and forest and ecosystem conservation.

Read more about Japan’s ODA related to Climate Change

Agriculture: Japan was the 3rd largest donor to agriculture in 2022 and mentions agriculture, forestry, and fisheries as part of its assistance towards “quality growth” in its Development Cooperation Charter. Most of the country’s bilateral ODA for agriculture and rural development is channeled through JICA, which focuses on promoting sustainable agriculture production, stable food supply, and dynamic rural communities. Japan has historically supported small-scale farming and is likely to continue to do so.

Read more about Japan’s ODA related to Agriculture

Both gender equality and education are included within Japan’s Development Cooperation Charter as key development sectors.

Read more about Japan’s ODA for Gender Equality

Read more about Japan’s ODA for Education

By region

Asia remains the priority region in Japan’s development cooperation, highlighting Japan's focus on regional connectivity. In 2022, Asian countries received 56% of Japan’s bilateral ODA overall. The largest recipients were India, receiving US$4.6 billion, or 20% of bilateral ODA, Bangladesh, US$2.8 billion, or 12%, and the Philippines, at US$1.8 billion, or 7%. In line with the Development Cooperation Charter’s emphasis on regional connectivity, Asia is expected to remain Japan’s geographic focus.

In November 2023, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida participated in a conference dedicated to enhancing collaboration with the Indo-Pacific and LICs and MICs. Kishida highlighted key strategies, including the unveiling of a new plan for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific during his visit to India and efforts to strengthen relations with partners at the G7 Hiroshima Summit. The collaborative approach involves utilizing ODA strategically and promoting the on-site presence of Japanese companies to bolster economic activities. The plan outlined goals to establish a stable international order, create flagship projects through public-private collaboration, and ensure mutual benefits for both Japan and partner nations.

The conference served as a platform for government ministries and agencies to coordinate development efforts, with a focus on implementing urgent economic measures. The conference aimed to facilitate discussion and formulate a concrete policy for collaboration between Japan and partner countries by spring 2024.

In 2023, Japan announced a new plan for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.

Japan has also strengthened its development focus on Africa in line with the 2016 Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy, which was introduced by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and endorsed by current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The strategy focuses on connecting Africa and Asia to promote sustainable growth in the two regions. ODA plays an important role in the strategy and involves capacity strengthening and infrastructure in Africa and Asia. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Japanese government has focused its support for Africa under three primary themes:

  • Strengthening Africa’s capacity to respond to COVID-19;
  • Building resilient and inclusive health and medical systems; and
  • Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19.

Japan has also used the TICAD as a forum to drive its African development agenda based on the principles of African ownership and international partnership, with the health sector being one of the priority areas. At TICAD VII in August 2019, Japan stressed its commitment to supporting private investment in Africa and launched the Africa Health and Wellbeing Initiative, which aims to share Japan’s global health knowledge and technology with African countries. TICAD VIII was held in Tunisia in August 2022, where Japan announced its pledge to the Global Fund. Despite these initiatives, SSA only accounted for 10% of Japan’s bilateral ODA in 2022, well below the DAC average of 17%.

Following from an announcement in August 2023, the government announced in March 2024 that TICAD IX will be held in Yokohama, Japan, from August 20-25, 2025.


What are the sources of Japan's ODA budget?

The MOF manages the vast majority of Japan's ODA. Most of the MOF's ODA funding is allocated for loans through FILP, including funds channeled through JICA as well as government bonds, which are used to make most of MOF’s assessed contributions to multilateral development banks. The MOFA manages nearly the entire remaining ODA budget. Almost all of this amount is sourced from the General Account Budget. The budget includes lines for bilateral funding, including grant assistance and technical cooperation, mostly channeled through JICA and multilateral funding. In addition, JICA administers large shares of funding for grant assistance and technical cooperation that come from MOFA’s General Account budget.

Other ministries, including the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, manage fractional percentages of ODA.

Both multilateral and bilateral contributions are expected to grow in the future, as emphasized in the 2023 Development Cooperation Charter. Significant growth is anticipated for climate change initiatives, as well as Asian and African regional development cooperation.

In March 2024, Japan’s MOFA hosted the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Panel on New Financing for Development to explore utilizing private funds for supporting developing countries. Amid financial constraints and a reduced ODA budget—with 2024 ODA funding about half of its peak value in 1997—Japan faces increasing demand for funds to address international challenges, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and climate change issues. Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa emphasized the importance of mobilizing private capital in cooperation with various stakeholders to redefine the national approach to ODA.

In November 2023, MOFA requested a budget dedicated to the offer-based approach for fiscal year 2024. Japan’s 2023 Development Cooperation Charter marked a significant transformation in the country’s approach to ODA. The new framework moved away from the traditional request-based approach, where Japan would respond to requests from partner countries, and toward an offer-based approach, where Japan will proactively make proposals and actively engage in dialogue and collaboration with other countries.

What are the steps and timelines for Japan's ODA budget approval?

The Japanese fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31.

In addition to this annual budget cycle, ministries can submit supplementary budget requests for the ongoing fiscal year between August and November. These are assessed by the MOF, negotiated in the Diet, and approved by the Cabinet and the Diet between December and January.

Apart from the year-to-year allocations, the Prime Minister also has ample discretion to commit new funding to multi-year initiatives. For example, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a commitment of US$2.9 billion in funding for global health in December 2017 at the UHC Conference.

The Donor Tracker team, along with many DAC donor countries, no longer uses the term "foreign aid". In the modern world, "foreign aid" is monodirectional and insufficient to describe the complex nature of global development work, which, when done right, involves the establishment of profound economic and cultural ties between partners.

We strongly prefer the term Official Development Assistance (ODA) and utilize specific terms such as grant funding, loans, private sector investment, etc., which provide a clearer picture of what is concretely occurring. “Foreign aid” will be referenced for accuracy when referring to specific policies that use the term. Read more in this Donor Tracker Insight.

Our Japan Experts

Tanvee Kanaujia

Tanvee Kanaujia

Associate Consultant