Issue Deep Dive
Japan / Global Health
Last updated: July 20, 2023
Japan was the fourth-largest OECD DAC donor to global health. In comparison to the size of its overall ODA budget, Japan was 26th among DAC donors in terms of its prioritization of global health.
After almost doubling between 2019 and 2020, Japan’s health ODA increased by 15% in 2021 to US$2 billion. This is again driven by an increase in bilateral health ODA, which expanded by 48% from 2020 levels to support COVID-19 response.
Japan channeled 80% of health ODA bilaterally in 2021, up from 62% in 2020. 37% of bilateral funding was channeled as earmarked funding through multilaterals.
Japan’s bilateral investments focus on infectious disease control and HSS, and efforts in these areas have increased in light of the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. COVID-19 control accounted for 45% of Japan’s bilateral health ODA in 2021. Other important priorities include HSS-related areas, such as health policy and administrative management (23%), basic health infrastructure (15%), and medical services (5%).
Before 2020, Japan had been increasing its share of health ODA channeled through multilaterals, which accounted for 60% of health ODA in 2019. However, this figure dropped to 38% in 2020 and further to 20% in 2021, falling below the DAC average of 30%).
At the 2022 replenishment conference of the Global Fund, Japan announced a contribution of US$1.1 billion for the 2023-2025 funding period. Japan also pledged up to US$300 million to CEPI for the 2022-2026 funding period.
More recent pledges to multilateral organizations include:
Japan emphasizes quality health care, infectious disease control, and UHC: Japan prioritizes global health in the Development Cooperation Charter, with an emphasis on strengthening health systems, including training health personnel, it aims to promote more robust, fair, and sustainable UHC. In May 2022, Japan finalized a new global health policy, which focuses on strengthening preparedness, prevention, and response to public health crises, including pandemics, and on achieving more resilient, equitable, and sustainable UHC as the world copes with COVID-19 response. The policy, announced in the lead-up to Japan’s 2023 G7 presidency, also aims to increase Japan’s total health ODA. Japan reaffirmed their commitment to UHC at the UNGA High-Level Meeting on UHC in September 2023.
Japan’s focus is shifting to pandemic preparedness: Japan’s commitment to fighting the COVID-19 crisis through various bilateral and multilateral initiatives was based on its 2020 health strategy for COVID-19 response in partner countries, Leave No One’s Health Behind. The strategy puts renewed emphasis on achieving UHC, post-pandemic economic and social recovery, and pandemic preparedness and response. At the COVID-19 Global Action Plan Foreign Ministerial Meeting, Japan committed to expanding equitable access to vaccines and advocating for stronger global health architecture, UHC, and health innovation at the global level.
Japan's strategy for combating infectious disease, released in April 2023, considers how all countries can work together to contribute to the international community’s well-being: It focuses on several topics including global health strategy, vaccine development and production strengthening, government action plans for novel influenza, and health in Asia and Africa. The plan included five major changes to Japan’s approach to addressing infectious disease:
- Contributing to the promotion of UHC and strengthening of PPR in order to develop a global health architecture;
- Contributing to the development of infectious disease experts and professionals;
- Promoting infectious disease testing, data collection and analysis, and research;
- Promoting the One Health approach; and
- Promoting AMR countermeasures.
Japan released a detailed AMR Action Plan (2023-2027) in April 2023: The plan aims to prevent the emergence of AMR as much as possible and develop strategies for preventing the spread of drug resistant disease targeting six goals:
- Public awareness and education;
- Disease control and management;
- Appropriate use of antibiotics;
- Research and development and drug discovery; and
- International cooperation.
The plan has specific metrics to measure its success in reducing various drug resistant diseases.
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