Patrol vessels, a face recognition system and ODA

3 icons in 1Japan spent its ODA budget:

face recognition system

US$17 mil for construction of patrol vessels in Indonesia (signed in 2006).

Over US$ half million to provide security equipment such as a face recognition system at the airports in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco (Signed in 2013).

US$ 9 mil to provide two patrol vessels to the Djibouti Coast Guard (signed in 2014).

(In relation to this, soldiers of the Japan Self Defense Force are stationed in Djibouti.)

patrol vessel(Japan military budget in 2013 includes almost US$30 mil for providing support to foreign troops and insinuations including international and UN peacekeeping activities. )

Can providing patrol vessels and a recognition system be counted as ODA?

OECD says, economic development and welfare are the main objective of ODA. It excludes military aid – the supply of military equipment and services are not reportable as ODA.

Regarding the issue of anti-terrorism OECD guidelines says activities combating terrorism are not reportable as ODA, as they generally target perceived threats to donor, as much as to recipient countries, rather than focusing on the economic and social development of the recipient.

OECD’s another guidelines on ODA and support for counter-terrorism clarifies that ODA in relation to counter-terrorism should focus on long-term structural stability, support for affected populations, promotion of democratic governance and inclusive economic policy calling attention to human rights.

OECD guidelines also says, “calibrate current aid allocations and approaches carefully where the prevention of terrorism is a relevant development objective. Aid budgets may need to increase accordingly”.


(Supposed to achieve 0.7%ODA/GNI)

On the final analysis it is a matter of intention, says the ODA guidelines.

Japan has recently unlocked its policy on abstention of transfer of technology and equipment for military use. Aligning to the policy shift, Japan’s ODA policy is currently under discussion, which emphasizes “strategic use of ODA” in the national security strategy and national economic reconstruction strategy.

patrol vesselPatrol vessels and a face recognition system compete with other important areas of development over Japan’s limited and shrinking ODA budget. face recognition system


Countries and peoples who could strengthen its social protection system or increase livelihood options utilizing ODA, for examples, will not be prioritized because those sectors are not the concerns in donor’s “strategic” policy and the countries are not located within its strategic region.

Patrol vessels and a face recognition system or any other technologies and equipment which may be transferred for military use from Japan in the near future, do not sound to contribute to long-term structural stability.

Provision of those stuff to counter terrorists would at most contribute to maintaining the existing system of militarism, aggressive masculinity and monopolization of economic gain – the very context in which fundamentalists and terrorist organizations grow.


IS IT ODA? – OECD (2008)
“ODA for foreign armies mulled”, The Japan Times (accessed on 2 June 2014)
ODA homepage, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan