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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

EAST2480 Japanese Development Assistance in a Globalising World

20 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Kweku Ampiah

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Japan's contribution to international development gripped world attention in the latter part of the 1980s when Japan emerged in 1989 as the leading aid donor, surpassing the United States. Since then the implications of Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) have been part of the discourse about development assistance. The genesis of Japan's involvement in International Development was the reparations it had to pay to its neighbours following the end of WWII. Reparations evolved to a framework for economic cooperation, and subsequently to ODA within the construct of post-war Japanese foreign policy. While development assistance to Japan's neighbours was devised as a diplomatic gesture to appease them, it was also designed and projected with Japan's economic interests firmly in mind. Aid was therefore seen as a form of 'foreign direct investment' to Southeast Asia, which was expected to bring economic benefits to Japan’s bedraggled post-war economy. Japan's ODA was orchestrated through the medium of the apparatus of 'the developmental state' whereby the state and private business organizations worked in close collaboration to maximise development outcomes both in Japan and in the recipient countries. As Japanese ODA evolved and expanded in its geographical reach it showed striking inconsistencies in Tokyo's approaches to International Development. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the principles on which Japan's economic assistance to the African countries were based were markedly different from those it applied in relation to its assistance to the countries in Southeast Asia, although since the latter part of the 1990s ODA to Africa seems to be operating on principles which in places evoke those applied to Southeast Asia in earlier years. Taking its cue from Japan's modern history the module would begin with a discussion of the modernization of the structures for development in 19th century Japan. It also interrogates the differences in the Japanese approach to development with those lead by the proponents of the 'Washington Consensus'.


- Improve students' understanding of the origin and evolution of Japanese ODA.
- Alert students to the ideology and technique of Japanese development assistance.
- Examine the discourse of the 'developmental state'.
- Explore the institutional architecture and structures (the bureaucracy) of Japanese ODA.
- Explore Japanese ODA as a function of Japanese foreign policy.
- Investigate the differences between Japan's approach to development and those of the major Western donors.
- Bring into perspective the impact of Japanese ODA on East Asia
- Discuss the trajectory and evolution of Japanese development assistance to in the developing world.
- Discuss the dynamics of Japanese development assistance to Africa

Learning outcomes
- Knowledge acquired of the origins of Japanese development assistance.
- Knowledge acquired of the discourses concerning International Development and Japan's role it.
- Knowledge acquired of the relevant Japanese institutions concerned with International Development.
- Understand the nature and operations of Japan's 'development assistance' compared with those of the leading donors of the West.
- Appreciate the especially significant impact Japanese ODA has had on East Asia.
- Knowledge acquired of the forms and nature of Japan's contributions to the discourse about the development of Africa

Skills outcomes
Knowledge of the technical dimensions of International Development


- Modernising Japan in the 19th Century: Modernisation theory and practice.
- The principles and practices of the Developmental State.
- The reparations debate in early post-war Japan.
- The principles and policies of Japanese ODA.
- The practice of Japanese development assistance in East Asia.
- Japanese 'aid' to Africa in the 1970s and 1980s.
- The discourse about development: Tokyo vs. Washington.
- Japanese development assistance to Africa in the 21st century

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Preparation for weekly seminars – 10 x 2 hours = 45 hours
Researching, planning and writing up assessment essay = 45 hours

Revising for examination = 45
Preparatory reading for lectures = 45 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Through seminar presentations and regular weekly discursive interaction with students in the classes (mainly seminars) with the module tutor
- Assessment essay and feedback on it before the end of semester examination
- Revision in class
- Tutor office hours

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2500 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment48 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 20/08/2021


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