Japan International Cooperation Agency
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (独立行政法人国際協力機構 dokuritsu gyōseihōjin kokusai kyōryoku kikō commonly known by the acronym "JICA") is an independent governmental agency that coordinates official development assistance (ODA) for the government of Japan. It is chartered with assisting economic and social growth in developing countries, and the promotion of international cooperation. Since 1 April 2012 it has been led by Professor Akihiko Tanaka, the University of Tokyo Vice President.
JICA was established by the Law concerning the Independent Administrative Institution Japan International Cooperation Agency (Law No.136 of December 6, 2002). The current organization was formed on October 1, 2003 as outlined in the International Cooperation (Independent Governmental) Agency Act of 2002. Its predecessor, the (Japan) International Cooperation Agency (also known as "JICA"), was a semigovernmental organization under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, formed in 1974. A major component of the comprehensive overhaul of Japan's ODA that the Japanese government (Diet) had decided on in November, 2006 is the merger in 2008 between JICA and that part of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) which currently extends concessional loans to developing countries.
Since its completion on 1 October 2008, "New JICA" has become one of the largest bilateral development organizations in the world with a network of 97 overseas offices, projects in more than 150 countries, and available financial resources of approximately 1 trillion yen ($8.5 billion). The reorganized agency is also responsible for administering part of Japan's grant aid which is currently under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and so all three major ODA components—technical cooperation, grant aid, and concessional loans—are now managed "under one roof." New JICA will also strengthen research and training capacity in the years ahead, acting as a kind of ODA think tank, contributing to global development strategies, strengthening collaboration with international institutions, and being better able to communicate Japan's position on major development and aid issues.
The forthcoming changes will be an extension of a series of JICA reforms which began in October 2003 when it became administratively independent. The organization's domestic establishments including international centers where JICA helps train some 8,000 foreign public officials, researchers, engineers, instructors and community leaders annually in Japan are being streamlined. The organization is also undergoing operational and organizational change in its country offices. Greater emphasis is being placed on a field-based approach to programs/projects, decentralizing staff, and delegating increased authority from Tokyo headquarters to overseas offices, reducing bureaucracy, and fast tracking programs/projects.
An increasing number of JICA programs/projects focus on what JICA's President, Mrs. Sadako Ogata describes as providing "human security". The recently developed concept of "human security" will empower local communities to have a greater say in their own futures by strengthening grassroots programs, such as improving education and health projects.
JICA is part of Japan's official development assistance effort, with a role in providing technical cooperation, capital grants and yen loans. JICA's core development programs (aid modalities) are technical assistance programs/projects for capacity and institutional development, feasibility studies and master plans. The Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV), JICA Senior Volunteers, and Japan Disaster Relief Team groups of JICA are widely known among the Japanese general public and tax-payers. Japan Disaster Relief Team members are often seen in news reports on relief efforts after major natural disasters around the world, such as the 2005 South Asian earthquake.
JICA's Mission Statement
"We, as a bridge between the people of Japan and developing countries, will advance international cooperation through the sharing of knowledge and experience and will work to build a more peaceful and prosperous world."
- Major aid modalities
- Technical assistance programs/projects for capacity and institutional development
- Feasibility studies and master plans
- Dispatch of Specialists
Specialists dispatched to the field include those recommended from related government ministries and agencies as well as those applying through the specialist registration system. Assignments range from extended stays of over a year to shorter stays of less than one year.
Technical training program
JICA provides technical training for participants from the developing countries in a wide range of fields, including medical, industrial, and agricultural training.
- Training within Japan
- Group training
- Field-specific course (Course aimed at deepening understanding of worldwide issues in various fields. Courses are generally between four and 15 people, 10 on average. Course length varies from three weeks to one year.)
- Country/Region-specific course (Course aimed at deepening understanding of issues specific to a country or region)
- Individual training (Generally technical training specific to a project)
- Group training
- JICA has its own accommodation facilities for participants of many of its programs. They are located in the important cities in Japan and are generally referred to as International Centers. The one at Tokyo is Tokyo International Center situated in Hatagaya, Shibuya. The facilities are of good quality and details are available in the JICA website.
- Japan (Youth) Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV)
- Senior Overseas Volunteers
- Nikkei Society Youth Volunteers
- Nikkei Society Senior Volunteers
Private Sector Investment Finance for the Thilawa Special Economic Zone
The Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) outside Rangoon, funded by the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has forcibly moved hundreds of Myanmar villagers into a flood-prone, cramped resettlement site without basic compensation. It will displace nearly 5,000 more in the coming months. The company which will benefit are Japanese auto darlings Mitsubishi, Marubeni, and Sumitomo who will set up camp on the confiscated land of Myanmar families. Village fields of paddy rice have been designated as a special economic zone. They will be bulldozed to make way for the flagship development project of the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) in co-operation with the Myanmar government and Japanese and Myanmar companies. Electronics and garments factories will replace homestead. The project is moving ahead while the local community is left worse off. He(A farmer) explains that there has been "no conversation, no replacement land, no adequate compensation".
- 1954 Apr - Japan joins Colombo Plan and initiates technical cooperation programs
- 1962 Jun - Overseas Technology Cooperation Agency (OTCA) established
- 1963 Jul - Japan Emigration Service (JEMIS) established
- 1965 Apr - Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) program launched
- 1974 Aug - OTCA and JEMIS merge to form the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
- 1987 Sep - Disaster Relief Team formed
- 1989 - Total official development assistance (ODA) contributions exceed that of the United States to become the highest in the world
- 1990 Apr - Senior Cooperation Specialist (Senior Overseas Volunteer) dispatch program begun
- 2003 Oct - JICA established as an independent governmental agency
- (English) JICA official website
- Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs ODA webpage
- (Japanese) JICA Japan Overseas Migration Museum website