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2022 | Book

International Development Cooperation of Japan and South Korea

New Strategies for an Uncertain World

Editors: Huck-ju Kwon, Tatsufumi Yamagata, Eunju Kim, Hisahiro Kondoh

Publisher: Springer Singapore


About this book

This book examines the evolution of foreign aid policy in Japan and South Korea, analyzing policy rationales, institutional developments and policy choices. The book searches for new strategies of international development cooperation in an uncertain world. The book compares two countries’ policies in a unique way: pairs of Japanese and Korean scholars examine same policy themes in separate chapters, contrasting differences and similarities. This book will be of great value to scholars of international development cooperation, public policy and East Asian politics.

Table of Contents


Policy Rationale and Evolution of the Development Institutions

Chapter 1. Policy Concepts and Normative Rationales in Japan’s Foreign Aid: Human Security, TICAD, and Free and Open Indo-Pacific
This chapter highlights Japan’s struggle to establish a philosophy to underpin its official development assistance (ODA) policies. For decades, the country has made considerable efforts to search for normative rationales for the provision of foreign aid. Since the 1990s, Japan has produced three charters establishing an ODA philosophy and promoted several policy concepts linking everyday aid-related practices to this philosophy. Tracing the history of Japan’s ODA policies, this chapter argues that the international environment, including external pressure, has played a critical role in persuading the country to reshape its aid policy and to search for philosophical foundations. It explores Japan’s representative policy concepts on foreign aid: human security, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP). With such exploration, it shows that Japan has used these concepts flexibly, as per its diplomatic priorities. The way these concepts have been used in practice reveals the pragmatic nature of diplomacy in Japan. Although pragmatism may be a necessary choice in Japanese diplomacy, it does not answer the question of why the country should provide ODA. The Japanese will continue to seek inherent reasons for providing foreign aid.
Shinichi Takeuchi
Chapter 2. Reflection on a Normative Rationale for Korean ODA Policy: Duty, Self-Regards, and Obligation
With the increasing role of East Asian countries in global efforts for poverty reduction and development, an important question has emerged about their policy rationale for international development cooperation. Are East Asian countries using international development for their own economic and commercial advantage, or are they really pursuing the goal of the global public good? This chapter seeks to answer the question with reference to normative values and ideas, reflecting on the normative aspects of Korean official development assistance (ODA) policy. It first discusses normative theories that construct the moral duty, ethical obligation, and self-regarding considerations for international development assistance in order to set a normative reference. Secondly, this chapter reflects on the underlying policy rationale of Korean ODA. It argues that Korean ODA is strongly self-regarding, as Korean people have a very strong sense of pride about it, while they also feel an obligation toward international development assistance. In conclusion, this chapter suggests a three-pronged approach to Korean ODA for the future, while incorporating the strength of Korean development experience and knowledge: aid for human freedom, aid for socioeconomic and political development, and aid for the global public good.
Huck-ju Kwon
Chapter 3. Pivotal Moments in Japanese ODA: Circa 1950–2010
This chapter attempts to address some unanswered questions in the history of Japanese aid: (1) How exactly was World War II reparation “the origin” of Japanese aid? (2) How was Japan’s aid able to expand so rapidly in the 1970–1980s and what was the implication from the recipient perspective?, and (3) How was “human” conceived as an object of development assistance? The chapter argues that the style of Japanese aid is more of a product of external circumstances and pressures from outside rather than that of a strategic choice of the government. Understanding the evolution of Japanese aid requires the observer to pay attention to such environmental factors that have triggered a response from where institutions have evolved. To guide Japan’s aid in the right direction, it is essential to nurture critical media and the public who can maintain such pressures and scrutinize the work of development cooperation from a long-term perspective.
Jin Sato
Chapter 4. South Korea’s Foreign Aid as a Foreign Policy Instrument
The main objective of this chapter is to analyze South Korea’s international development cooperation as a donor, with special reference to the history of institutional structure and foreign aid allocation. In particular, the chapter demonstrates how South Korea’s foreign aid has been practiced in close alignment with the government’s foreign policies. The timeframe of the research is from 1963 to early 2021. The findings indicate that South Korea’s foreign aid was utilized as a foreign policy tool in different ways, depending on the changing domestic and international economic and political context. In the 1960s and 1970s, South Korea’s official development assistance (ODA) was heavily influenced by its diplomatic competition with North Korea in the international arena and the motivation to secure more allies. However, rapid economic development and heightened status in the global economy led to growing demand to fulfill its obligation in the international community, resulting in increasing the ODA budget. At the same time, expanding trade and diplomatic relations with Asia meant prioritization of the region in foreign policy and subsequently foreign aid. Even in the 2000s, South Korea’s foreign aid strongly reflects its foreign policy and geographic interest in Asia.
Jisun Song, Eun Mee Kim

Role of Private Sectors in Development Cooperation

Chapter 5. Quest for Sublation of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction: Dual Features of Japan’s Aid in the Post-Cold War Era and After
Until the early 1990s, Japan’s aid specifically prioritized the industrialization of developing nations and the economic infrastructure underpinning it. The Japanese perception on the effectiveness of aid to developing countries differs from the Western view which is more pessimistic. Japanese perceived their experiences of cooperation for East-Asian countries’ economic development and its benefits more positively and in her own interests which are the main reasons why Japan continued to prioritize the economic aspects of aid. At the same time, it is also important to recognize that Japan made substantial efforts to assist recipient countries’ poverty reduction and human development from the late 1990s on, which has made a discussion of Japan’s aid complex due to its dual nature. As the number of Japanese professionals and scholars increasingly engaged with the global epistemic international development community which focused on poverty reduction, they helped the country widen her scope of aid to incorporate poverty reduction and peace-building under the novel concept of human security.
Hyomin Jung, Motoki Takahashi
Chapter 6. Balancing Universal Values and Economic Interests Through Development Cooperation in Korea
Korea’s foreign aid has been characterized by a focus on economic development, providing loan packages, and emphasizing the mutual benefits of the donor–recipient relationship. Since these characteristics can be found not only in Korea, but also in Japan and China, some scholars have identified them as characteristic of Asian donors. Against this background, this chapter attempts to analyze economic-development-oriented official development assistance (ODA) in South Korea by examining historical institutions as recipients in the past and donor countries in the 1990s. It also explores recent policy changes after 2010 to identify the reason for an increasing economic sector response to the development needs of Asian regions. In addition, this chapter also examines whether Korea’s economic-development-oriented ODA has pursued universal values or special interests by considering the scope of accountability between the people in the recipient country and domestic voters. Based on the analysis, it suggests a way to balance universal values and the specific interests of Korea’s economic-development-oriented ODA in the future. It tries to consider how we can ultimately achieve the national development of partner countries and contribute to supplying global public goods.
Eunju Kim
Chapter 7. New Partnership with the Private Sector in Japanese Development Cooperation
The landscape of international development in the age of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is significantly different from that in the time of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The SDG age is characterized by more diverse actors. With accelerated globalization, the flow of private financing to developing countries has dramatically increased, and now exceeds the volume of official development assistance (ODA). As a result, the interface between business and development cooperation activities is growing. Against such background, this chapter reviews the recent global trends and various models of new development partnership, with special attention to new Japanese ODA initiatives introduced over recent decades. It also presents two types of case studies of new ODA initiatives: partnership with local governments and small-and medium enterprises (SMEs) for sustainable development; and Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS). Compared to partnerships under the traditional Japanese PPP model, new development partnerships require much broader and deeper interactions with partner countries, and with stakeholders within Japan as well. Merely transplanting Japanese technologies may not be sufficient, and the localization process is critically important. Furthermore, the role of the private sector is becoming even more vital for ensuring “builds back better” recovery in a post-pandemic world with digital transformation. The case studies point to the importance of supporting SMEs and startup firms that possess advanced technologies and innovative ideas; however, patience and long-term perspectives are also needed to nurture development partnerships with the private sector.
Izumi Ohno, Sayoko Uesu
Chapter 8. Science, Technology, and Innovation in Sustainable Development Cooperation: Theories and Practices in South Korea
Science, technology, and innovation, for short STI, have been recognized as key enablers in achieving socio-economic transformation and sustainable development. In spite of its cross-cutting nature and ambiguity, growing recognition of the importance of STI has resulted in diverse policy initiatives in development cooperation. This chapter discusses South Korea’s official development assistance (ODA) policy with a focus on STI. It first provides a conceptual overview of STI and development and examines how STI has been recognized in the international development cooperation. Building on this discussion, this study investigates how STI emerged in Korea’s ODA policy and examines opportunities and challenges in current policy. In spite of potential and recognition of the importance of STI in ODA, there is still a lack of clear understanding and integrated strategies in STI-ODA in Korea. Building on the lessons from the case, implications for development policy include: improving policy integration and interlinkages between ODA and STI policies; developing national STI roadmaps and measurement framework; adopting STI for the localized applications that meet the country’s development priorities; understanding STI as socio-technical systems; and aligning STI strategies with international guidelines and local needs.
Kyung Ryul Park

Emerging Agendas and New Challenges for International Development

Chapter 9. Civil Society Organizations as Partners and Critics of Japan’s Aid Policy
Civil society organizations (CSOs) are independent development actors in their own right and essential partners of official aid agencies in international development. While OECD-DAC members in total allocated 15.1% of ODA for CSOs (2018), the figures are low for Korea (2.1%) and Japan (1.7%). This chapter examines the current issues around the partnership between CSOs and official aid agencies in Japan and identifies challenges for both CSOs and Japan’s official aid agencies. Especially, I will examine whether the two objectives—to implement programs related to service delivery and to strengthen a pluralistic and independent civil society in partner countries—are paid attention to in the partnership in Japan. In identifying the challenges, reference will be made to especially the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Assistance. After briefly describing the history and the current trends of Japanese international development CSOs, I will look into how CSOs in Japan and the government aid agencies have partnered in international development, how policy dialogues have taken place, and how Japanese CSOs have played the roles as critics of GoJ’s aid policy.
Akio Takayanagi
Chapter 10. The Government–Civil Society Relationship in Korean International Development Cooperation from a Historical Perspective
This study aims to examine changes in the roles of Korean development civil society organizations (CSOs) in the historical path of Korean development cooperation since the 1990s. In particular, it focuses on analyzing the government–civil society relationship. Korea's international development cooperation activities began in earnest in the 1990s and have grown dramatically over the past 30 years. Korean development CSO activities also increased significantly in service delivery when short-term international emergency relief beginning in the 1990s was extended into development cooperation programs in the 2000s. In this process, as CSOs have become important actors in that they influence government policy directions and lead norms, the government–civil society relationship in the field of development cooperation has also changed.
By applying Najam's Four-Cs model, which presents a conceptual framework for the government–civil society relationship, this study closely analyzes the government–civil society relationship and finds that the relationship between the two changed from a complementary/confrontational relationship in 1995–2009 to a mixture of complementary/confrontation/cooperation in 2010–2016, and to a cooperative relationship after 2017. By investigating the past and present government–civil society relationship, this study attempts to draw implications for the new direction of partnership between the two in the concluding section.
Sung Gyu Kim, Jiyoung Hong
Chapter 11. Japan’s Approach to the SDGs: Decoupling Between the SDGs and International Development
The SDGs are widely recognized by the public in Japan. This is because the private sector and local government find the SDGs useful in order to show their achievements in CSR, sustainability, and globalization in the context of the SDGs. The Government of Japan stresses aspects of the SDGs that contribute to local development and sustainability inside Japan over those that contribute to international development. Thus, the SDGs and international development are decoupled, and the latter is inclined to be left behind. This tendency is accentuated in Japan.
Tatsufumi Yamagata
Chapter 12. A Way Forward to Achieve the SDGs in Korea: Reformulating an Enabling Environment for Sustainable Development
Governance and partnership are key principles that crosscut the entire agenda of sustainable development. National implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is still regarded as challenging for both the Global North and South, since the process is by and large a matter of state autonomy depending on their respective governance capacity. At times, implementation itself can become stalled when confronted with resistance. Hence, prior thought must be given to finding a middle ground between hierarchical governance and a bottom-up network approach with third sector participation. The importance of a bottom-up model of policy change goes hand in hand with the inclusive features of the SDGs that actively invite actors of the third sector into the development field. In this regard, comprehensive implementation of the SDGs requires new enabling environments that allow transformation in governance mechanisms for social integration. Thus, this chapter examines approaches to governance and modes of partnership by examining the case of South Korea, where government policies on nationalizing the SDGs have evolved with the growth of the third sector toward orchestrating a whole-of-society approach. It concludes by suggesting comprehensive agendas on how to reinforce the existing institutional platforms and ways forward to seek national implementation of the SDGs with core principles of development cooperation.
Taekyoon Kim, Bo Kyung Kim
International Development Cooperation of Japan and South Korea
Huck-ju Kwon
Tatsufumi Yamagata
Eunju Kim
Hisahiro Kondoh
Copyright Year
Springer Singapore
Electronic ISBN
Print ISBN

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