Japan’s foreign policy
Japan has an advanced transportation system, outstanding outcomes in the field of technology research and a matured business development model. As the world’s third-largest economy, Japan has been expanding its foreign policies to aid developing countries and boosts the global economy.

From Japan’s international cooperation on Pandemic Influenza to NERICA (New Rice For Africa), Japan plays an essential role in solving urgent and consistent poverty issues. Its foreign policies promote the progress of eliminating poverty worldwide. There are three cases of how Japan’s foreign policy solves global poverty problems.

Examples of Japan’s Foreign Policy

  1. NERICA: Food shortage is a continuous problem in Africa. The main reason is low production field. NERICA stands for New Rice for Africa. The Japanese government cooperated with the Africa Rice Center to introduce this program in 1992. This program is applied extensively in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).The Africa Rice Center cooperated with its partners to produce interspecific hybridization, which can combine advantages of two species to increase the yield of rice. In the meantime, the interspecific grains have better ability to tolerate drought, pest and disease. These grains have higher nutrition as well. Japan has adopted various plans to apply different irrigated rice production technology in Tanzania since the 1970s, which has boosted the yield of rice to three times larger than the national average.In 2014, the total production of milled rice in Uganda was 154,050 metric tonnes, but the consumption rate was 215,707 metric tonnes. NERICA plays a vital role to ameliorate the Ugandan food shortage problem by increasing rice varieties. Most farmers are planting NERICA rice because its mature time is shorter, the yield is higher and it is more tolerant to drought and viruses. For example, NERICA 6 is immune to Yellow Mortal Virus and NERICA 1 only takes 100 days to mature.NERICA is a typical example of how Japan’s foreign policy solves global poverty problems. It ameliorates African food shortage problems efficiently and provides an alternative way for people in SSA to access higher-nutrition and larger-yielding grains.
  2. STI: In September 2015, the U.N. Sustainable Development Summit adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda lists 17 goals to eliminate global poverty issues in sustainable ways. Japan continuously contributes itself to achieve the 2030 Agenda.Japan has abundant human resources and advanced technology. It can help reach the agenda through STI, which stands for science, technology and innovation. STI can contribute to boosting development by using limited sources.Japan will contribute its extensive database, which covers from the ocean up to space, to facilitate the efficiency of international cooperation. In addition, Japan will facilitate people-centered development by offering consistent assistance in areas of information and communications technology, research and development, industrial human resources development and vocational training.In 2015, the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation was established to solve social issues and boost economic growth. The Japanese government will spend $1.8 billion on STI in the next three years mainly on high technology development which has international benefits.For example, outbreak alert innovation can reinforce surveillance of infectious diseases, and mobile innovation can facilitate the urban transportation system by using wireless communication for extension of green light. STI acts as a “bridging force” to connect Japan with the globe by assisting technology training processes and sharing developing STI experiences.
  3. Infrastructure Aid: Japan has consistently been sharing its sources on infrastructure building with other countries. For example, in September 2017, Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail was launched when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited India. This high-speed railway corridor stretches from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, which is a total of 508.17 km.This project is the symbol of cooperation between Japan and India. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered $12 billion in loans to build India’s first bullet train. In the meantime, the Japanese government agreed to bear 80 percent of the total project cost when Prime Minister Abe visited India in September of 2017. Assisting in building infrastructure is another way Japan’s foreign policy solves global poverty problems.

Overall, Japan’s foreign policy helps solve global poverty by sharing resources and advanced technology. For Latin America, Japan will promote its development by improving trade and investment to create a more comprehensive environment for economic growth. For the Middle East, Japan works on overcoming peace-building and human resources development, as well as a sustainable and stable energy supply. Japan’s foreign policy solves global poverty problems through science, technology and innovation.

– Judy Lu
Photo: Flickr

In many developing countries, young women have little hope of acquiring an education. A lack of family planning education takes away important decision making skills and opportunities, better wages, and overall say in personal choices.

With roughly 16 million adolescent girls giving birth each year, and many of those in developing countries, most of these girls will lose out on education. Of these 16 million adolescent girls, those ages 15-19 will have children at a rate of up to 120 births per 1,000 girls.

But recently, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) set out to improve reproductive health education and services, specifically for young girls and adolescents ages 15-19. By working with eight African countries – the Democratic Republic of the CongoEthiopia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Tanzania, the UN organ will address female health through increased reproductive education over the next three years. They plan to create programs for young women in order to better prepare them for life as an adult woman.

The UNFPA’s education service will work towards teaching young girls the dangers of childbirth complications, pregnancy, and dangerous abortion procedures. In doing so, they hope these young girls will incorporate these lessons in their decisions related to pregnancy, marriage, and education, among other facets of life.

The purpose of the UNFPA’s work is to improve women’s health, and provide them with the ability to be independent when it comes to personal health decisions. As Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director, said, “What we are trying to do is to create an army of young women who would have access to comprehensive sexual education, who would be able to have access to services, who also would be able to make choices in their lives and who would have access to education … so they can develop their full potential.”

Another reproductive issue, HIV contraction, remains a pressing issue for women’s health initiatives. Pregnancy and HIV related deaths still play a large part in women’s life expectancy in many countries. With UNFPA’s current program, they look to education and services as a reinforcement for young girls to stay in school. The belief is that if girls receive reproductive education, they will stay in school. If they stay in school, they won’t marry and have their first child at such a young age. By pushing back sexual interaction to a later age, reproductive related injuries and sexually transmitted diseases will inherently decline and thus reduce deaths.

Since 2007, UNFPA has been working with low income countries to improve access to contraceptive commodities, as well as financial and technical support for these service programs. During the past six years, their efforts have increased and improved reproductive health services with a focus on distributive infrastructure to make sure contraceptives and medicines reach their destination, which, in turn, will increase general access for the public. However, in UNFPA’s new three year program, education follows these services. The hope remains that increased family planning education will lead to increased use of current services, and young women’s overall reproductive health will improve.

– Michael Carney 
Sources: Trust, UNFPA
Photo: IPS