New JICA President Sadako Ogata on Mission and Mottos: Luncheon Speech at FCCJ
Takahiro MIYAO (Professor and Head, Japanese Institute of Global Communications, IUJ)
|FCCJ Professional Luncheon:
|Date/Time:||October 2, 2008 (Th) 12:30 - 13:30|
|Place:||Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, Yurakucho, Tokyo|
||12:30 - 13:00|
Speakers: Sadako Ogata (President, Japan International Cooperation Agency)
13:00 - 13:30
|Organizer:|| Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (http://www.fccj.or.jp)|
On October 1, "New JICA" was launched to consolidate much of Japan's ODA, including technical assistance, soft loans and grant aid, by merging old JICA and JBIC (Japan Bank for International Cooperation). The president of New JICA, Sadako Ogata, gave a talk on her new mission and approach at the FCCJ professional luncheon meeting on October 2. The following is a summary of Ms. Ogata's presentation.
As we all know, globalization means that various problems like global warming, climate change, food and energy crises, etc. are interlinking with each other on the global scale. New JICA is intended to respond to those interlinking problems in terms of development assistance by coordinating Japan's technical assistance, soft loans, grant aid, etc. for urgent needs as well as long-term development in the world. In other words, both hard and soft components of the nation's development assistance should be put together to obtain best results.
One special soft component is a new research institute just established to conduct various research activities on economic, political and social development by recruiting first-rate researchers at home and abroad. This is important, because we are trying to deal with poverty not by welfare or charity, but rather by expanding economic opportunities and accelerating economic growth. For that purpose, serious research is necessary to find long-term solutions, not purely from the academic viewpoint, but from the comprehensive standpoint for combined effects on developing nations, especially in the African region, as extensively discussed at the TICAD summit meetings recently held in Yokohama. However, we have just started and yet to decide on details of this new institute.
New JICA has its renewed mission with three mottos, which I would call "three Ss." First, "scaling up" of our activities with our total budget over $10 billion dollars, making us the world's largest bilateral development assistance agency. Accordingly, various assistance activities can and should be expanded, say, from simple projects to more comprehensive programs. Second, "speeding up" of our operations. The world is not waiting for all of us to be ready to move. In fact, JICA started out with very much of a headquarter-based office, but now more staff members are out to work in the field to scale up and speed up our operations. Third, "spreading out" of our activities in terms of recipient countries to be offered more economic and social opportunities and also in terms of partners such as the World Bank, the UNICEF, as well as business communities in various countries to achieve our objectives.
Ms. Ogata concluded her talk by asking the audience for help and support for the new merged organization, which seems extremely important for Japan to play its international role in terms of development assistance, as expected by other countries in the world. Whether New JICA can fulfill its commitment under the current political and economic conditions in Japan was the focus of the Q&A session, which followed Ms. Ogata's presentation. Her answers were positive and forward-looking all along, and this was certainly one of the most impressive luncheon speeches at FCCJ in recent years.
This report is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):