IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Is Foreign Aid, Or Expectation Of Such Aid, An Effective Tool To Influence North Korea?

Listed author(s):
  • Söderberg, Marie


    (European Institute of Japanese Studies)

Registered author(s):

    Peace building and peace preservation are new key concepts in Japanese foreign aid policy. According to the revision of the ODA charter in 2003, the objective of Japan’s foreign aid is to contribute to the peace and development of the international community, and thereby to help ensure Japan’s own security and prosperity--“Japan aspires for world peace. Actively promoting the aforementioned effort with ODA” that Japan will carry out “even more strategically” in the future. Asia and especially East Asia is pointed out as a priority region. North Korea, with whom Japan has not yet normalised its relations, is one of Japan’s closest neighbours and would, from a logical point of view, then seem like an important starting point. However, when main Japanese aid agencies such as JICA (Japan International Co-operation Agency) and JBIC (Japan Bank of International Co-operation) are asked, no one works officially with aid to North Korea. The standard answer is that there is no aid to that country, besides some smaller amounts of Japanese humanitarian aid that are channelled through multilateral organisations. If Japan regards aid as one of its main tools for creating peace, why isn’t aid provided to North Korea? Aid is a very complex issue and not giving is often regarded as effective as giving, when it comes to getting concessions and changes in the recipients’ policy behaviour. It is used both as a carrot and a stick. Aid is always envisioned as something quite plausible, if North Korean policy behaviour is changed for the better according to Japanese judgement (so called positive aid sanction); but aid is never paid out and remains an illusion as long as it does not change (negative sanction). But the question for Japan is more complex than this. There are various domestic opinions and interest groups that have to be taken into consideration. The kidnapping issue (Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea in the 1970s) has lead to a considerable amount of anti-North Korean sentiment that makes it difficult for the Japanese government to disperse aid to North Korea. There is also foreign pressure at work; the US, Japan’s military ally, and other western countries as well have imposed economic sanctions on North Korea due to its withdrawal from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. This also affects the Japanese position on the aid question. Keeping all these factors in mind, this paper questions if Japanese foreign aid is an effective tool to influence North Korean policy behaviour. Has it ever led to a change of behaviour? Has it contributed to peace and stability in the area in any way?

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by The European Institute of Japanese Studies in its series EIJS Working Paper Series with number 210.

    in new window

    Length: 13 pages
    Date of creation: 16 Sep 2005
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:eijswp:0210
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    The European Institute of Japanese Studies, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

    Phone: +46-8-7369360
    Fax: +46-8-313017
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:eijswp:0210. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Nanhee Lee)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.