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社説:ODA白書 国民理解深める努力を

(Mainichi Japan) March 27, 2012
Editorial: Japan has duty to help other nations through ODA
社説:ODA白書 国民理解深める努力を

One point of note in the recently completed Ministry of Foreign Affairs whitepaper on Japan's overseas Official Development Assistance (ODA) programs is how many of the nations that came to this country's assistance after the March 2011 disasters did so expressing thanks for those ODA efforts. The report highlights once more how important ODA is, that it is in fact one of the pillars of Japanese foreign policy. However, we must make sure that the Japanese people know this as well.
 外務省が11年版のODA(政府開発援助)白書をまとめた。東日本大震災の支援国が日本のODAへの感謝を口にしていたことで、改めてODAの重要性が知られるようになった。ODAは今後も日本外交の大きな柱だが、それには国民の理解を深めることが欠かせない。

Analysis of the links between last year's natural disasters and Japan's ODA programs comes at the very beginning of the whitepaper -- entitled "ODA and Japan's bonds with the world" -- which states that other nations are "strongly calling on Japan to overcome the Great East Japan Earthquake and make active international contributions starting with continuing ODA programs."
 今年の白書は「世界との絆とODA」として東日本大震災とODAに1章をさき、「震災を乗り越えて、これからも引き続きODAをはじめとする国際貢献に積極的に取り組んでいくことが日本には強く求められている」と強調した。

Japan's ODA heyday came in the 1990s, when it was spending more than 1 trillion yen per year on foreign development programs -- the highest of any country in the world at the time. Since then, however, budget crunches have seen that amount decline, and Japan is now fifth in the world in ODA spending behind the United States, Britain, Germany and France. The proposed ODA budget for fiscal 2012 stands at 561.2 billion yen, and while Japan's spending drops, other nations are upping their program budgets. In 2010, Britain increased its ODA outlays by 20 percent, while Germany and France are also spending more.
 日本のODAは90年代のピーク時で年1兆円を超え世界一だったが、財政難で減少傾向にあり、現在は米英独仏に次ぐ5位に転落した(12年度予算は5612億円)。英国が10年に2割増とし、独仏も増額傾向にあるのと対照的である。

Japan's total spending on ODA programs is just 0.2 percent of gross national income (GNI), ranking it 20th among the 23 nations with major foreign assistance programs, which spend an average of 0.32 percent of GNI on ODA efforts. Meanwhile the current cellar-dweller, South Korea, plans to boost its ODA budget to 0.25 percent of GNI by 2015, meaning it could soon overtake Japan. With China also boosting foreign aid, especially to African nations, Japan's presence on the international ODA stage is getting slowly weaker.
 国民総所得に対するODAの比率も0・20%にとどまり、主要援助国23カ国(平均0・32%)中の20位にすぎない。最下位の韓国は15年までに0・25%に引き上げる目標を掲げており、日本は国民総所得比で韓国に追い越される可能性がある。アフリカへの支援を近年増やす中国などと比べて、国際社会での日本の存在感は薄くなる一方だ。

Amid all this, Japanese public support for ODA spending is sliding. According to a 2011 Cabinet Office survey, public support for ODA stood at just 27 percent -- a 5 point drop from the year before. Also, the percentage of respondents who said ODA spending should stay at about current levels went from 43 in 2010 to 47 in 2011. Meanwhile, public worries over the opacity and efficiency of long-term ODA programs seem to persist. Furthermore, it's likely that now, after last year's terrible disasters, the Japanese people would prefer the nation's coin be spent on helping survivors rebuild their lives. ODA programs do indeed use up a lot of taxpayers' money, and it's perfectly natural that debate on ODA be fierce.
 こうした中で、ODAへの国民の支持は低下している。昨年10月の内閣府の調査では、経済協力を積極的に進めるべきだとする人は前年の32%から27%に減り、現状程度で良いとする人が43%から47%に増えた。長年指摘されてきたODAの不透明さや非効率性に加え、震災で困っている国内の被災者を助けるのが先、という国民感情もあるだろう。巨額の税金を使う以上、世論が厳しい視線を向けるのは当然だ。

However, the basic foreign policy principle behind the programs -- that ODA helps build global stability, and global stability is connected to domestic stability -- is absolutely correct.
 世界の安定にODAを活用することが日本の安定に直結する、という日本外交の理念は正しい。

"It is the duty of Japan as one of the world's leading nations to take on the resolution of global issues," the foreign ministry whitepaper states, and so it is. It is not enough, however, to simply repeat this principle. Exactly how ODA works in Japan's interest must be explained properly to a skeptical public.
「地球規模の諸課題の解決に取り組むことが主要国としての責務」(白書)との認識もその通りだ。だが理念を繰り返すだけでは足りない。日本の開かれた国益のため、ODAがどう役立っているかを国民にていねいに知らせる必要がある。

To take a couple of examples from the whitepaper, the public should know that products from the disaster areas in northeast Japan are being used in projects to help developing countries, and that ODA leads to business opportunities for Japanese firms providing, for instance, energy-saving and environmental technologies. There is also a need to think about ways to better the quality of ODA initiatives.
 たとえば、被災地の物産を調達して途上国支援に活用したり、省エネルギーや環境技術の普及をビジネスチャンスにつなげる取り組みなどが白書で紹介されている。質の向上をどう図るかにも知恵を絞るべきである。

Japan began its ODA efforts in 1954 as a way to make war reparations, secure resources and promote peace. The aims of the programs, however, have changed in line with the times. To make sure that Japanese ODA meets the needs of this era, we call on our politicians to take the lead in deepening public debate on what forms our foreign assistance should take.
 54年に始まった日本のODAは戦後賠償に準じたもの、資源確保、平和への貢献と、時代に応じて意味や目指すべき方向を変えてきた。新しい時代にふさわしいODAのあり方を確立するため、政治が先頭に立って議論を深めてほしい。

毎日新聞 2012年3月27日 2時33分
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by kiyoshimat | 2012-03-29 02:44 | 英字新聞

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