Turning the tide
July 8, 2002
Japan is a major donor of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) to Pacific island nations, doubling its aid to the region between 1987 and 1995. By 1999, Japan was the largest bilateral aid donor to Tonga, Vanuatu, Samoa and the Solomon Islands, and the second largest donor to Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Palau, Nauru and Tuvalu. Since 1991, Japan has participated in OECD donor coordination meetings with Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the European Union, the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, as OECD countries contributed over US$7.7 billion in aid to the region in 1995-9. In spite of this, only about two per cent of overall Japanese ODA – about $138 million a year – goes to the South Pacific, and there have been reports that aid to island countries will be reduced if current plans to slash the ODA budget are implemented.