Japanese Government Decides 1st Policy on Partnership with Global South; Places Focus on ODA Programs, Critical Minerals

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a meeting to discuss partnership with members of the Global South at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The government decided its first policy on strengthening partnership with the emerging and developing nations of the Global South at a meeting with relevant ministries and agencies at the Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday.

Under the policy, members of the Global South will be positioned as partners in creating the economic society of the future, and the government will back up companies venturing into such fields as artificial intelligence and decarbonizing in those countries. The government will also build a framework for new overseas development assistance (ODA) of the type that can mobilize private funds.

“We will proceed with multilayered cooperation [with those countries] and lead the moves in the international community away from division and conflict and toward harmony,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said during the meeting.

The policy shows Japan’s concern over moves toward increasing division and conflict in the international community due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, for example, and that cooperation with the Global South is desired above all else in order to deal with global-scale issues and conflicts.

Since critical minerals, such as gallium, are essential for the manufacture of strategic and important products, such as semiconductors and rechargeable batteries, the policy recognizes that it is necessary for every step from the mining of such minerals to the production of the final products must be handled carefully. The policy also says Japan should build relationships with Global South countries so those countries select it as a partner.

To be more precise, the policy will feature measures across eight categories, such as: 1) support for companies including their facilities and equipment; 2) the expansion and upgrading of ODA programs; 3) the deepening of human resource cultivation and cultural exchanges; and 4) the use of official security assistance, including by providing defense equipment free of charge to the militaries of countries that share the same values as Japan.

Regarding the support for companies, the policy clearly states that it will be implemented in such fields as AI, green transformation, energy, digitalization, critical minerals, transportation, semiconductors and next-generation vehicles. An example of the envisaged support would be aiding the construction of a hydrogen production factory.

Regarding ODA, the policy refers to the construction of a new mechanism for international cooperation, including the fundamental reevaluation of the system, such as by mobilizing private funds.