Policy Updates

Each week, Donor Tracker's team of country-based experts bring you the most important policy and funding news across issue areas in the form of Policy Updates.

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Japan hosts public-private conference for restoration and reconstruction of Ukraine

June 11, 2024 | Japan, Agriculture, Climate | Share this update

On June 11, 2024, Japan hosted the Japan-Ukraine Public-Private Roundtable in Germany to discuss measures for the restoration and reconstruction of Ukraine, involving both public and private sectors.

Approximately 60 Japanese and Ukrainian companies participated in the conference. The meeting aimed to expand cooperation in fields such as agriculture, renewable energy, and housing construction.

In February 2024, during the Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promotion of Economic Growth and Reconstruction in Tokyo, the two countries agreed on seven key areas of support, including social infrastructure and demining. They signed over 50 cooperation agreements to facilitate specific forms of support.

The restoration of Ukraine’s agriculture is a critical focus, given that agricultural land accounts for 70% of Ukraine’s total land area. Japan plans to sign five memoranda of understanding to bolster Ukraine’s agricultural production. Companies including Yanmar Agribusiness Co. and Kubota Corp. discussed supplying agricultural machinery with Ukrainian authorities. Additionally, the Japanese government pledged to streamline customs clearance procedures to support these initiatives.

In the renewable energy sector, Japan and Ukraine aim to strengthen cooperation in developing wind power and other renewable sources. This initiative aligns with the broader goals discussed during the G7+ energy meeting held on June 11, 2024 in Berlin, Germany. Japanese Vice Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry, Kazuchika Iwata, emphasized Japan’s commitment to supporting Ukraine’s energy needs and facilitating collaboration between companies from both nations.

During the Berlin conference, Iwata also met with Polish Special Representative for Ukraine Development Cooperation Pawel Kowal. They discussed enhancing collaboration between Japan and Poland in support of Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts, given Poland’s pivotal role in Ukraine’s recovery.

News article - The Japan NewsPress release - Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (in Japanese)

Japan accelerates access to new treatments for neglected diseases

June 9, 2024 | Japan, Global Health R&D, Global Health | Share this update

On June 9, 2024, Japan global health officials and partners met to reach consensus on a new global health funding approach of targeted investment and early-stage access to accelerate access to new treatments for neglected diseases, focusing on a pediatric treatment for schistosomiasis, a tropical disease affecting around 50 million children.

The initiative followed approvals from the European Medicines Agency and the WHO. Key stakeholders, including Japan’s ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health, have strategized in Tokyo for the equitable distribution of the new medicine.

The Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium, led by Merck and initiated by Astellas Pharma in Japan, developed the schistosomiasis drug with support from the Japan-based GHIT Fund, the EDCTP, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Collaborations with health ministries in Kenya, Ivory Coast, and Uganda have focused on understanding social dynamics and strengthening health systems to ensure readiness for the treatment’s rollout. Japan’s model of integrating research, development, and access aims to set a new standard for global health initiatives, prioritizing science, access, and equity to transform the global health landscape and save lives.

News article - Nikkei Asia

Japan provides US$12 million for medical equipment in Vietnam

May 29, 2024 | Japan, Global Health | Share this update

On May 29, 2024, Japan signed a US$12 million grant agreement with Vietnam to procure medical equipment for the country’s National Cancer Hospital.

Vietnam has experienced an epidemiological transition, where the leading cause of death has shifted from infectious diseases to non-communicable diseases.

The National Cancer Hospital is the country’s largest cancer center and sees nearly 400,000 patients each year. The grant will be used to enhance cancer diagnosis and prevention systems, while also contributing to UN SDG #3

Press release - Japan International Cooperation Agency

Japan joins Alliance for Transformative Action on Climate, Health

May 28, 2024 | Japan, Climate, Global Health | Share this update

On May 28, 2024, Japan announced its intent to join the ATACH at the 77th World Health Assembly.

At COP28 in December 2023, Japan, along with 142 other countries, adopted the COP28 UAE Climate and Health Declaration to raise awareness of climate change’s health impacts and promote international cooperation. The World Health Assembly also adopted the WHO’s 14th General Programme of Work for 2025-2028, which emphasizes climate change and health among its strategic objectives.

Japan has been advancing policies to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, such as the GX2040 Vision and the Basic Energy Plan. The Osaka Blue Ocean Vision and the revised SDGs Implementation Plan also underscore the interconnectedness of global challenges and the importance of planetary health.

By joining ATACH, Japan aims to:

  • Build climate-resilient healthcare systems;
  • Promote sustainable low-carbon healthcare;
  • Address the comprehensive interaction between climate change and health;
  • Enhance research and cooperation on health and climate change; and
  • Expand investments in climate and health initiatives.

Japan’s participation in ATACH is expected to involve multiple government ministries and promote cross-sectoral efforts to tackle planetary health challenges, including the impacts of chemicals, waste, and pollution, and to ensure a sustainable environment for health.

Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI)

Japanese youth call on government to bolster global health efforts

May 27, 2024 | Japan, Global Health, Global Health R&D | Share this update

On May 27, 2024, in Tokyo’s Nagatacho district, a Policy Pitch event was held where youth representatives directly presented policy proposals to address global health issues.

Organized by the policy platform provider PoliPoli, the event focused on pressing global health challenges such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, polio, NTDs, MNCH, and vaccine distribution.

West African startup SORA Technology emphasized the importance of collaborating with local health ministries in budget allocation and strategic planning, highlighting the example of France providing technical support for budget proposals to the Global Fund in francophone African countries.

A student group also advocated for the widespread adoption of a mother-child handbook app to improve maternal and child health management in developing countries. The group supported financial contributions to Gavi and the distribution of pentavalent vaccines to eradicate polio. Ryota Torogi, representing NTDs Youth, urged the Japanese government to prioritize NTDs, citing their high cost-effectiveness. Former Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Kiyoshi Odawara expressed strong support for the initiative.

Politicians and experts in attendance discussed the challenges and background of the proposed policies, seeking concrete evidence and implementation plans. The event underscored the importance of involving NGOs, startups, and young leaders in global health policymaking, highlighting Japan’s role in addressing international health issues through innovative solutions and strategic partnerships.

News article - Asahi Shimbun (in Japanese)

G7 finance ministers call on donors to coordinate efforts, increase investments

May 25, 2024 | UK, France, Canada, Japan, US, Italy, Germany, EUI, Global Health, Climate, Education, Agriculture, Gender Equality, Nutritious Food Systems | Share this update

On May 23-25, 2024, the G7 Ministers of Finance met at a summit in Stresa, Italy, where the ministers voiced support for contributions to the IDA, WHO, Gavi, and the Global Fund in the resulting communiqué.

The G7 ministers supported efforts towards a successful 21st replenishment of the IDA by the end of 2024 through an ambitious policy and financing package. Notably, they did not give a concrete signal that the critical US$100 billion threshold requested by the World Bank will be crossed, nor any indication of the US$120 billion expected by African leaders.

The ministers reaffirmed their dedication to strengthening the governance and finance of the global health architecture and voiced support for refinancing processes of several GHIs, such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the WHO, and the Global Fund, and expressed support for the Pandemic Fund. The communiqué called on the donor community to coordinate efforts and increase investments in global health in line with their capacities to ensure sustainable funding and maximize the impact of available resources.

Following the summit, the C7 pointed out the G7's lack of ambition and financial commitment to international development, including climate adaptation. International civil society organizations criticized the lack of any reference to allocating SDRs to global solidarity.

G7 Ministers of FinanceC7 statement

Japan establishes new unit for active development assistance

May 24, 2024 | Japan | Share this update

On May 24, 2024, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced plans to establish a new division with the International Cooperation Bureau to promote the country’s new, offer-based ODA policy.

In June 2023, the Japanese government pledged to take a more proactive approach to ODA in moving from a request-based approach to an offer-based one. The change came as Japan looked to increase the involvement of the private sector in ODA.

The new unit will facilitate collaboration between government agencies and private organizations looking to expand their business abroad.

News article - The Mainichi Shimbun

Japan provides additional US$45 million for humanitarian assistance in Palestine

May 23, 2024 | Japan, Global Health | Share this update

On May 23, 2024, Japan confirmed an additional US$45 million for humanitarian assistance in Palestine and confirmed its resumption of support to UNRWA.

US$35 million will come from Japan's supplementary budget for 2024. The funds will be used to address the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which has been further exacerbated by the recent expansion of military activities in Rafah.

The remaining US$10 million is earmarked for the emergency health response in Gaza, where what remains of the health system is struggling to meet surging demand. The funds will be provided through the WHO and will be used to supply essential medications, medical equipment, and supplies.

Press release - United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near EastPress release - World Health Organization

US think tank releases report on Japan’s strategic interests in Africa

May 21, 2024 | Japan | Share this update

On May 21, 2024, the Center for Strategic and International Studies released a comprehensive report examining Japan’s strategic interests in the 'global South', particularly focusing on the African continent and the growing influence of China and Russia in the region.

The report highlighted the transformation of Japan’s diplomacy with Africa and emphasized changes during the second administration of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, which prioritized strategic engagement in response to Africa’s rapid economic growth and China’s proactive investment strategies, including the Belt and Road Initiative. It also discussed the broader geopolitical implications of African countries’ mixed reactions to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, revealing a significant divergence from Western expectations and highlighting Africa’s increasingly independent foreign policy stance.

Key issues addressed in the report include the historical context of China’s deepening ties with Africa, driven initially by efforts to avoid isolation after the Tiananmen Square protests and now expanded under President Xi Jinping’s Vision 2035. China’s substantial investments in Africa, particularly in infrastructure and digital innovation, contrast with Japan’s more modest financial involvement, emphasizing private sector investment over traditional ODA. The report also underscored the challenge posed by African countries’ voting behavior at the UN regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, reflecting a broader dissatisfaction with the Western-led international order.

Policy recommendations made by the report included:

  • Deepen policy dialogue on shared vision;
  • Redesign diplomacy considering economic realities;
  • Enhance mutual understanding through bilateral dialogues;
  • Develop a cohort of African individuals familiar with Japan; and
  • Develop information dissemination strategies focused on SNSs.
Report - Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Japan’s private sector calls for greater ODA spending on health

May 20, 2024 | Japan, Global Health, Global Health R&D | Share this update

On May 20, 2024, a group of business leaders supporting global health visited Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa to present a request for expanding Japan’s ODA spending in the global health sector, specifically to strengthen partnerships and increase contributions to international organizations.

The business leaders emphasized five key actions:

  • Increasing Japan’s ODA spending in global health;
  • Strategically positioning global health support in diplomatic policies;
  • Expanding contributions to international health organizations, promoting procurement of Japanese products by these organizations; and
  • Incorporating outcomes from expert meetings on new development funding into policy.

Japan’s ODA spending in global health has significantly increased since 2019, establishing Japan as the world’s third-largest contributor in this field by 2022. Despite the decline of ODA spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding ODA spending is still critical to maintain Japan’s international presence in global health.

The request highlighted the importance of strategic support in this sector, particularly in collaboration with LIC countries, and calls for increased funding to organizations like the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund, and CEPI to enhance Japan’s influence and the global procurement of Japanese products and services.

Business leaders, including those from Toyota Tsusho, NEC, Eisai, Fujifilm, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, shared messages highlighting their contributions to global health and the benefits of increased government support. They emphasized the role of innovative partnerships, private sector investments, and the need for enhanced cooperation between government and international organizations to improve health outcomes globally and promote Japan’s leadership.

Press release - PR Times (in Japanese)






US$ amounts are cited directly from sources; in the absence of an official conversion, they are calculated using the previous week's average of the US Federal Reserve's daily exchange rates.

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