Doing Good or Doing Well? Japan's Foreign Aid Program; The Emergence of Japan's Foreign Aid Power

In This Review

Doing Good or Doing Well? Japan's Foreign Aid Program

By Margee Ensign
Columbia University Press, 1992
198 pp. $24.50

The Emergence of Japan's Foreign Aid Power

By Robert M. Orr, Jr.
Columbia University Press, 1992
178 pp. $12.50

These two detailed studies of Japan's foreign aid program reach different conclusions. Ensign, an American academic, contends that Japanese aid remains substantially tied to Japanese business interests, despite assertions of Japanese officials that aid has been "untied." Orr, an academic who formerly worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, says that foreign pressure has been effective in reducing the tied nature of Japanese aid since 1989, and that yen loans are increasingly open to outside bidders. Orr also says that there has been a globalization of Japanese aid recipients. By 1987 Japan was the largest donor in 29 countries, in contrast with 1970, when Japan was the preeminent aid giver in only six.

Orr's volume is particularly informative about the bureaucratic struggles underlying the distribution of Japanese aid. Four ministries are responsible for yen loans to other nations, and they have conflicting objectives. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs consistently argues for close relations with the United States. The Ministry of Inter national Trade and Industry, on the other hand, has the strong support of business circles and prefers aid that will help promote Japanese commerce rather than the advancement of underdeveloped countries.

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