Japan to bolster 'proposal type' assistance with new section at Foreign Ministry

Japan's Foreign Ministry is to set up a new section to further promote proactive assistance to developing countries.

With the program called Official Development Assistance, or ODA, Japan has distributed assistance for social infrastructure and other purposes at the request of recipient countries.

But the budget for ODA in this fiscal year is about half of its peak level back in the 1990s.

The Foreign Ministry is now focusing on more strategic assistance, making proposals which could serve Japan's national interest.

One such project is nickel mining in Madagascar that could enhance a part of the supply chain of the important mineral.

The new section that the foreign ministry will set up sometime this summer will be dedicated to "proposal type" ODA.

Ministry officials say that the section will work with other ministries, agencies and private sector firms that want to do business overseas.

They say that it will identify the needs of potential recipient countries and make proposals.