Issue Deep Dive

Japan / Global Health

Last updated: April 14, 2023

ODA Spending

ODA in Context

Japan was the fourth-largest OECD DAC donor to global health. In comparison to the size of its overall ODA budget, Japan was 26th among DAC donors in terms of its prioritization of global health.

After almost doubling between 2019 and 2020, Japan’s health ODA increased by 15% in 2021 to US$2 billion. This is again driven by an increase in bilateral health ODA, which expanded by 48% from 2020 levels to support COVID-19 response.

ODA Breakdown 

Bilateral Spending 

Japan channeled 80% of health ODA bilaterally in 2021, up from 62% in 2020. 37% of bilateral funding was channeled as earmarked funding through multilaterals.

Japan’s bilateral investments focus on infectious disease control and HSS, and efforts in these areas have increased in light of the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. COVID-19 control accounted for 45% of Japan’s bilateral health ODA in 2021. Other important priorities include HSS-related areas, such as health policy and administrative management (23%), basic health infrastructure (15%), and medical services (5%).

Multilateral Spending and Commitments 

Before 2020, Japan had been increasing its share of health ODA channeled through multilaterals, which accounted for 60% of health ODA in 2019. However, this figure dropped to 38% in 2020 and further to 20% in 2021, falling below the DAC average of 30%).

At the 2022 replenishment conference of the Global Fund, Japan announced a contribution of US$1.1 billion for the 2023-2025 funding period. Japan also pledged up to US$300 million to CEPI for the 2022-2026 funding period.

More recent pledges to multilateral organizations include: 

Funding and Policy Outlook 

Japan emphasizes quality health care, infectious disease control, and UHC: Japan prioritizes global health in the Development Cooperation Charter, with an emphasis on quality health care, infectious disease control, and UHC. 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, announced in the lead-up to Japan’s 2023 G7 presidency, also aims to increase Japan’s total health ODA.

Japan’s focus is shifting to pandemic preparedness: Japan’s commitment to fighting the COVID-19 crisis through various bilateral and multilateral initiatives was based on its 2020 health strategy for COVID-19 response in partner countries, Leave No One’s Health Behind. The strategy puts renewed emphasis on achieving UHC, post-pandemic economic and social recovery, and pandemic preparedness and response. At the COVID-19 Global Action Plan Foreign Ministerial Meeting, Japan committed to expanding equitable access to vaccines and advocating for stronger global health architecture, UHC, and health innovation at the global level.

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