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Help the Poor, Help Ourselves

Merging Individual and Collective Interests in the Official Discourse on Japanese ODA since 2000

Marco Zappa    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



Japanese ODA has attracted much attention in the last three decades. This paper aims to shed light on the intellectual evolution of the official discourse on Japanese ODA based on the analysis of two main ‘modes of thought’ at the foundation of it, namely national interest and international affiliation. Based on a detailed content analysis of official documents and public debates, the paper will take the role of institutional actors – Japanese political leaders, foreign ministers and intellectuals – into consideration. The role of such “entrepreneurs” has been crucial for shaping the current official discourse on Japanese foreign aid. The paper will argue, in fact, that the official discourse is a juxtaposition of two clashing ideas carefully shaped to enlarge the consensus (both domestic and external) toward the Japanese government’s policies.

June 25, 2018
May 28, 2018
Jan. 16, 2018

Keywords: IdeasJapanese foreign aidPublic policySociology of knowledgeDiscourseInternational development

Copyright: © 2018 Marco Zappa. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.