"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] he Significance of the "G8 Miyazaki Initiatives for Conflict Prevention", Action from Japan on "Conflict and Development", Japanese Development Cooperation for Conflict Prevention, Okinawa Summit

[Date] July 2000
[Source] http://www.g8kyushu-okinawa.go.jp/e/theme/action.html
[Full text]

To effectively address the issue of conflict prevention, it is imperative to tackle comprehensively a variety of root-causes that lie behind the conflict. This fact requires that Japan should, sharpening its awareness to the perspective of conflict prevention, design its development cooperation so as to better contribute to averting the outbreak, expansion, and recurrence of conflicts. On the occasion of the G8 Miyazaki Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Japan announces its intention to pursue development cooperation that is better suited to conflict prevention; "Action From Japan".


1. Reinforcement of chronological approach to conflict prevention

Reinforce aid for conflict prevention at all its stages.

* Aid that contributes to conflict prevention

Support for "governance":

* Strengthen the foundations for democracy, enhance legal systems, encourage market-oriented economic management.

* Emergency humanitarian assistance to mitigate various difficultiesduring and immediately after conflictsPromote coordinated efforts with NGOs and the private sector.

* Support for the formulation of rehabilitation and reconstruction plans

Swift dispatch of missions (with the participation of NGOs) to assist in the formulation of plans, with pilot projects conducted in parallel to studies.

* Reconstruction and development aid that prevents the recurrence of conflict

Assistance for social reintegration of demobilized soldiers, refugees and internally displaced persons, landmine clearance, and regulation and collection of small arms.

2. Strengthened support for actors in conflict prevention

Place emphasis on NGOs as important actors in conflict prevention.

* Reinforcement of support for NGOs

Grant Assistance for NGOs, Emergency Relief Projects, landmine clearance and mine victims assistance programs through Grassroots Grant Assistance, support for network building.

* Strengthened collaboration with NGOs and private sector Support to NGOs' in acquiring information, funding and expertise etc. necessary for initial assessment and emergency assistance activities, dispatch of joint government/NGO missions.

Support for a "Japan Platform" where various inputs and contributions from NGOs, the government, companies, and the media etc. can be freely and flexibly articulated to provide more swift and effective humanitarian assistance.

* Human resources development

Cooperation for UNHCR's "Center for Emergency Training in International

Humanitarian Response for Asia and Pacific Region."



1. Basic perspectives

(1) Conflict is an important issue in development

There have been frequent outbreaks of conflict since the end of the Cold War. Conflict harms not only the life, living conditions, and dignity of the individuals, but the economic and social foundations that support them--the fruits of development. Conflict also creates exodus of refugees and internally displaced persons, and leaves behind antipersonnel landmines.

Conflict thus presents a range of difficulties throughout the past-conflict recovery process and subsequent development.

(2) Development aid affects each of the different stages of conflict

Development cooperation can contribute to the prevention of conflict by actively addressing the factors lying behind the conflict, for instance, poverty and income inequity.

When conflict breaks out, emergency humanitarian aid will assist those in the belligerent countries who are affected by conflict, and countries in the surrounding area faced with an influx of refugees from the belligerents.

After conflict has ended, development cooperation can play an important role in rehabilitation and reconstruction. It is particularly important to secure a smooth transition from emergency humanitarian assistance to subsequent reconstruction process in order to prevent conflict from recurring. Donors must make every effort to bridge the gaps between these stages.

(3) Coordination and collaboration with international organizations and NGOs

The international community must work in accord to prevent, resolve and prevent the recurrence of conflict. Coordination and collaboration with international organizations, other donors, the domestic private sector, and NGOs are of critical importance to make development assistance instrumental in achieving this objective. In particular, a dynamic role can be played by NGOs which are capable of swift and flexible response to grass-root level needs, and therefore active support will be needed for their activities.

2. Principles

(1) Emphasize conflict prevention

Conflict, when it erupts, takes a large toll in human and physical damage in the belligerents, and results in costly humanitarian assistance, rehabilitation and reconstruction spendings. In light of this, it is more efficient and effective to emphasize development cooperation as a means of preventing conflict. Japan will take into account the perspective of conflict prevention in the process of planning, implementation and evaluation of its aid projects, and actively undertake projects that directly contribute to the prevention of conflict. Particular emphasis should be placed on facilitating the voices of the people in recipient countries heard and strengthening the basis for democracy.

(2) Respond quickly

In most cases, conflict results in a number of additional problems; massive exodus of refugees and internally displaced persons, food shortages, poverty, sickness and epidemics. As more time elapses, these problems become particularly difficult to solve. Preemptive response is therefore critical.

In particular, swiftness must be the key word in conducting emergency humanitarian assistance, and Japan will promote prepared and responsive collaboration with NGOs in this regard.

(3) Maintain consistency

Japan extends a wide range of assistance for post-conflict reconstruction; aid to rebuild the livelihood of resettling ex-soldiers and refugees, aid for building institutions and systems to restore and reinforce public safety and governance, support for the formulation of development plans as well as for the physical and institutional rehabilitation in social sectors (basic economic infrastructure, health care, education etc.). Japan will participate actively in the planning process for rehabilitation and reconstruction from the initial stage, and provide aid for developing human resources and nation building from the medium and long-term perspective, taking into account local needs.

(4) Eliminate gaps

If the transition from emergency humanitarian assistance to post-conflict rehabilitation/reconstruction and then full-scale development aid were not smooth, consequent discontinuity and disequilibrium in recovery perspectives could foment discontent which would easily result in the recurrence of conflict and refugees/internally displaced persons outflow. In the international response to complex emergency, however, different actors may take a lead in emergency humanitarian assistance and reconstruction/development cooperation respectively the situation in which gaps widen easily between these phases. Japan will take active part in and provide active cooperation for international efforts to bridge these gaps.

3. Concrete programs

(1) Aid for conflict prevention

Even countries that maintain peace and stability may still have a potential for conflict: poverty, economic and social disparity, combined with complex ethnic and/or religious groups, can feed violent confrontations in some cases. It is therefore important that emphasis be placed on aid which contributes to poverty reduction and social development in order to achieve more equitable societies. Aid for "governance" (democracy, legal systems, market-oriented economic management etc.) is the cornerstone upon which peaceful, stable and equitable societies are built. Japan will therefore provide strengthened assistance for human resources development and institutional building that will strengthen governance.

Even when internal conflict comes to the fore and impairs the safety, Japan will seek to continue its support wherever possible through international organizations and NGOs. In such circumstances, Japan will place priority upon projects suitable to the participation of and equally benefiting all parties involved in the animosity, through which peaceful lives of and communication among them would be restored and thus antagonizm appeased.

(2) Aid for reconstruction and development to prevent the recurrence of conflict

Japan will enhance aid that will prevent the recurrence of conflict. This includes, among others, aid for the social reintegration of demobilized soldiers and returnees, and assistance for antipersonnel mine clearance which facilitates the repatriation of refugees etc. Japan will also extend its cooperation to those which contributes to the regulation and reduction of the small arms that serve as the means of conflict, as well as those for the restoration of safety and order.

Antipersonnel landmines are a particularly serious impediment to post-conflict reconstruction. In addition to inter-governmental cooperation, Japan will make greater use of Grass-roots Grant Assistance (*1) to provide better support for NGOs' mine clearance activities, in line with Japan's "Zero Victims Program".

Japan places priority on its support for "governance" (see Subsection (1) above), so as to build social systems that can appease antagonism among local communities and thus maintain long-term peace and stability.

In addition, Japanese aid will be allocated for the projects which are implemented in the regions in conflict and are of equal benefit to all parties, in order to encourage reconciliation and thereby prevent recurrence and/or aggravation of conflict.

Properly functioning democracies are instrumental in helping resolve discords within a society peacefully and reuniting the contending parties. In light of this, Japan will reinforce its efforts to encourage democratization process based on its "Partnership for Democratic Development" (PDD) program, including the holding of seminars on democratization that introduce success stories of Japan and other countries in modernization and democratization.

(3) Enhanced support for NGOs

Taking into account the growing interest in the emergency humanitarian relief activities expressed by both Japanese NGOs and Japanese people in general, Japan has already assisted NGOs through relevant international organizations, and by providing direct support to the activities of NGOs. With a view to further promote an "aid with national face" sustained by Japanese NGOs, Japan will endeavor to enhance and improve programs to support Japanese NGOs, "Grant Assistance for NGOs' Emergency Relief Projects" (*2) for example.

Japan will also take account of the role of the local and international NGOs that have the networks and expertise allowing them to serve as go-betweens for the belligerents to prevent the outbreak and/or recurrence of conflict and thus extend its assistance to those NGOs.

Japanese aid will also support organizational strengthening of Japanese NGOs, for example through personnel exchanges between Japanese NGOs and international NGOs (*3) that will promote sharing their experiences and expertise, thus inciting development of skills among Japanese NGO staff.

(4) Collaboration with the private sector and NGOs in emergency humanitarian aid

The possibility for the establishment of framework(s) to promote collaboration among NGOs, the private sector, the media etc. will be explored, seeking in this to gain more effective implementation of emergency humanitarian assistance with the participation of a wide range of Japanese society. In particular, the government and the private sector will jointly support the launching phase of NGOs' activities (initial assessment, logistics set-up and emergency relief activities in the field) after the outbreak of conflict by ensuring their access to information, funding, expertise, emergency relief supplies, telecommunications equipment, vehicles etc.

Study will be made to create a system that enables faster dispatch of joint government/NGO missions, in order to facilitate, at the very initial stages of NGOs emergency assistance activities, as well as to foster a closer coordination with international organizations in the field.

From these perspectives, Japan will take an active part in "Japan Platform" (*4) and will consider an appropriate support to it.

(5) Assistance for the formulation of emergency reconstruction plans

Japan will quickly dispatch missions (*5), including missions in which NGOs take part, in order to quickly formulate post-conflict rehabilitation/reconstruction plans, and bridge gaps to ensure that there is no disruption of aid flows between emergency humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation/reconstruction process. Japan will also explore the possibility to formulate restoration and implementation plans and the swift implementation of pilot projects (*6).

(6) Shared studies, evaluations and knowledge

Japan will conduct evaluation of the specific cases in which development assistance plays a role in preventing the outbreak and recurrence of conflict (for example, Cambodia) and will broadly disseminate the significance and merits of ODA conflict prevention.

(7) Human resources development

It is essential that human resources be trained and available for the implementation of swift and effective humanitarian assistance when conflict breaks out with a massive outflow of refugees and internally displaced persons. Japan will provide support for training programs, particularly for personnel of NGOs in the Asia-Pacific region (UNHCR has formulated a plan for "Center for Emergency Training in International Humanitarian Response for Asia and Pacific Region"). Japan will consider to contribute through the "Human Security Fund" to fund distance learning and workshops of the UNHCR Center.


1. Support to anti-personnel mine clearance activities through Grass-roots Grant Assistance

In addition to government agencies, a considerable number of NGOs are involved in landmine clearance activities in the countries where large minefields remain (Cambodia, for example). In fiscal 2000, Japan reinforced its direct support to NGOs' mine clearance activities through Grass-roots Grant Assistance scheme, both in scale and scope: the ceiling for the amount to be accorded was increased from 20 million yen per project to 100 million yen; wage costs for demining staff were also to be covered, in addition to mine clearance equipments and other hardwares.

When Japan signed the International Treaty on the Total Ban of Anti-personnel Landmines in December 1997, it pledged its assistance of approximately 10 billion yen for antipersonnel landmine programs over a five-year period beginning 1998.

2. Grant Assistance for NGOs' Emergency Relief Projects

This scheme was introduced in fiscal 2000 to provide support for the costs incurred by Japanese NGOs providing emergency humanitarian assistance in the field of complex emergency caused by armed conflicts, natural disasters etc. Travel and lodging costs of NGO members, project startup expenses (establishment and maintenance of local office(s)) and other indirect expenses incurred in the field can be covered.

Compared to other existing schemes for NGO support (NGO Subsidy, Grass-roots Grant Assistance etc.), this scheme significantly shortens and accelerates the process of reviewing and decision-making on applications received from NGOs for emergency assistance projects, and enables considerably larger amount of assistance (around 50 million yen approximately per project (NGO subsidy: 15 million yen per project; Grass-roots Grant Assistance: 10 million yen per project.))

During fiscal 1999, grants were extended under this scheme on a factual basis for supporting of projects by Japanese NGOs to aid returnees and refugees in Kosovo and East Timor, and to assist earthquake victims in Turkey and Taiwan.

3. Personnel exchanges between Japanese and International NGOs

Personnel exchanges are already being made in the area of peace building. For example, Canada sent two people to Japanese NGOs this spring (February-May) and Japanese NGOs will send two people to Canadian NGOs this fall (for a period of about four months beginning in October).

This was inspired by the September 1999 "Peace Building Aid Seminar" held at the Canadian Embassy with the participation of members of Japanese and Canadian NGOs under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The focus of discussion during the seminar was on the role of NGOs in development aid and peace building, and the strengthening of ties between the governments and NGOs of Japan and Canada in these areas.

4. "Japan Platform"

Some Japanese NGOs are taking an initiative to create a forum "platform" where various inputs and contributions from NGOs, government agencies, companies, media and research institutions etc. can be freely and flexibly articulated to deploy more effective aid activities in response to humanitarian crisis caused by armed conflict, natural disaster etc.

A federation of Japanese humanitarian NGOs ("NGO Unit") will serve as the secretariat, and will endeavor to coordinate the activities of NGOs as well as to mobilize and articulate various supports provided by the government, companies etc. for the launching stage of NGOs' activities in response to a complex emergency (initial assessment, logistics set-up and emergency relief activities in the field), thereby enabling faster and more flexible response. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and private sector organizations, like the Keidanren(the Federation of Economic Organizations), are actively involved in the elaboration of this framework being conducted by and among NGOs. Some companies have already expressed an interest in specific cooperation and support, particularly in supplies of materials and equipment.

5. Emergency Project Formulation Mission

Missions consisting of government officials, members from NGOs and other organizations are sent to areas of conflict and disaster to accelerate the formulation of projects that will contribute to restoration and reconstruction plans.

6. Emergency Reconstruction Aid and Development Mission

Members of Emergency Project Formulation Missions continue to work on development studies and restoration/reconstruction plans. Within the context of these studies, emergency pilot projects are conducted to bridge the gaps between planning and implementation.