Breaking Japan’s aid policy taboo

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to a reporter, 4 March 2016. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Fumitaka Furuoka, University of Malaya

The usage of aid solely to support economic development and not for strategic reasons has been the bedrock principle of Japan’s aid policy since the country first began providing foreign aid to developing countries in 1954. Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) Charter unequivocally declared a total prohibition of ‘any use of ODA for military purpose’. Read more…

Mongolia in the region: time for economic foreign policy

The Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in the South Gobi desert, Mongolia. The mine is a joint venture between the Mongolian government, Canada's Ivanhoe Mines and British-Australian Rio Tinto. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Julian Dierkes, UBC

Mongolia has been extraordinarily successful in building a foreign policy around the Leitmotiv of ‘third neighbours’ for the past 20 years. Reinforced by the country’s democratisation and the promise of mineral resources, this foreign policy has helped Mongolia claim much more attention on the global stage than one might expect from a vast country of only three million inhabitants. Read more…

Rising from Haiyan’s ruins

Filipino survivors riding through smoke from mosquito pesticide dispensed by officers at a damaged residential area in the super typhoon devastated city of Tacloban, Leyte province, Philippines on  15 November 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Ernesto M. Pernia, University of the Philippines

Recovering from the tragedy wrought by Typhoon Haiyan, the most potent typhoon ever to hit land in planet earth’s recorded history, is evidently no mean task. Difficult to estimate is the economic cost; virtually incalculable is the human cost, including lost human capital going to economic cost. Read more…

A new direction for Australian aid in the Asian century

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott with world leaders at the APEC summit in Bali (Photo: AAP).

Author: Susan Harris Rimmer, ANU

Australia’s newly elected prime minister, Tony Abbott, has signalled that his government will move to incorporate the country’s overseas aid agency, AusAID, with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

But what will this mean for the developing countries that currently receive Australian aid, and the people living in extreme poverty inside those states? Moreover, what does it mean for Australia’s overall soft power goals in the Asian century? Read more…

Getting behind Myanmar’s reforms

Australian Pime Mnister Julia Gillard and the President of Myanmar Thein Sein speak to the press at Parliament House in Canberra 18 March 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Trevor Wilson, ANU

Australia hosted a high-level government delegation from Myanmar this week, led by President Thein Sein.

Thein Sein’s ambitious program of economic and political reform has surprised the international community since he assumed office in March 2011. Read more…

How Myanmar became ‘undemocratically’ indebted

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) and Foreign Minister of Myanmar Wunna Maung Lwin hold a press conference following a bilateral meeting at the Department of State in Washington, DC, 17 May 2012. Since the early 1990s developed countries have imposed economic sanctions on Myanmar to punish undemocratic governance in the country. But now US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has declared Myanmar is in a historic new path toward democracy. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sai Latt, SFU

Myanmar’s Minister of Finance and Revenue, Hla Tun, revealed in February 2012 that the country has an external debt of US$11 billion.

This came as a shock to the public, who is still trying to reconcile the amount of the debt with the fact that people in Myanmar seem to get poorer every year.

Since the early 1990s developed countries have imposed economic sanctions Read more…

Getting real about change in the Asian century

Students wave Indonesia and Australia flags during the opening of a school in Tanggerang, built with Australian development assistance, 15 July 2010. Former Australian Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Stephen Smith and his Indonesia counter part Marty Natalegawa were in attendance. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Virginia Hooker, ANU

The Issues Paper that kick-started debate about Australia in the Asian Century is a provocative document.

It recognises the urgency of implementing national policies that will enable Australia to interact positively with Asia. Yet it fails to address two interlinked characteristics of Australian society: the ongoing anxiety about racial and religious difference and unease about socio-economic change. Read more…