Japan supports the development of statistical capacity in partner countries. Starting with support for Indonesia’s population census in the early 1980s, Japan has provided advisory services for capacity development in support of official statistics in developing countries (Tomizawa and Masugi, 2018). It also provides a large share of its financial assistance to data and statistics through multilateral organisations. Among others, this includes co-operation with the United Nations Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (UN SIAP), which has been supported by Japan since its opening in 1970; the United Nations Population Fund; the Food and Agriculture Organization; and the IMF.

Several Japanese ministries and agencies are engaged in providing data-related official development assistance (ODA), including the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Finance, which leads with respect to multilateral development banks and the IMF; and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. JICA, in collaboration with the Statistics Bureau of Japan and other partners, provides technical assistance for statistical administration, capacity development for statistical skills and data use in its partner countries while the mentioned ministries often channel financial assistance through multilaterals.

According to OECD data and research,1 Japan supported data and statistics with USD 9.4 million annually (in 2018 prices) between 2017 and 2019 (Figure 1). Around one-third of the total is channelled via the IMF’s Japan Subaccount (JSA) of the Framework Administered Account for Selected Fund Activities, a funding vehicle which, among other capacity development, aims to support capacity for the production and dissemination of economic statistics. The portfolio of the JSA programme included, for instance, the strengthening of external sector statistics in West and Central Africa (USD 4.0 million in 2016-17) and of regional government finance statistics and data dissemination in countries in the Asia-Pacific region (USD 5.4 million between 2014 and 2016).

Japan’s bilateral partner countries are concentrated in Asia and Africa. JICA, for instance, has in the past provided support to the United Republic of Tanzania (2004-07), Cambodia (2005-15), Myanmar (2005-07) and Indonesia (2002-04 and 2006-08) and, more recently to Egypt and Nepal. In 2019, the last year for which data are available, nearly all of Japan’s ODA for data- and statistics-related activities that could be assigned to specific countries was targeted to low- and lower middle-income countries and more than 90% was targeted to countries classified as fragile.

JICA’s technical co-operation is characterised by its comprehensive support to the whole series of statistical work, from data research to publication and promoting data use. JICA covers expenses for Japanese experts who provide technical support to the work conducted by partner countries, but usually does not provide financial support for expenses of the staff of partner countries who are engaged in the statistical work, attaching importance to partner countries’ ownership and sustainability of their activities.

Between 2017 and 2019, large shares of Japan’s ODA for data, statistics and statistical capacity development were allocated to broad-based statistical capacity development (52%) and economic statistics (33%) (Figure 2). The remainder was split almost equally between support for population and agricultural statistics.

A little less than half of Japan’s support to data and statistics between 2017 and 2019 was allocable by region, of which more than 90% benefited partner countries or initiatives in Asia and Africa (Figure 3 and Figure 4). Key co-operation partners included Nepal, Timor-Leste and Egypt. Japan’s bilateral partner countries in the area of support to data and statistics include low-income countries such as Malawi, Nepal and Tajikistan, but also lower middle-income countries such as Egypt, Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Tunisia.

The share of ODA that cannot be allocated to a specific region increased from 13% in 2011 to 66% in 2016 before falling again in subsequent years. This is primarily a result of a shift away from direct, bilateral support to multi-bi aid in these years (see next section).

In 2019, around 93% of Japan’s country-allocable ODA to data and statistics was targeted to countries classified as fragile, a significant increase compared to earlier years (Figure 5). Egypt, Nepal and Timor-Leste, which all received significant support from Japan and which are still included here, graduated from the list of fragile contexts in 2020.

While 70-80% of Japan’s ODA to data and statistics was delivered in the form of project-type interventions at the beginning of the 2010s, the share decreased to only 14% by 2019 (Figure 6). Japan’s support for the IMF’s capacity building programmes explains much of this trend.

A large fraction of Japan’s gross disbursements to data and statistics in 2019, 86%, was delivered via multilateral initiatives (Figure 7), typically in the form of contributions to specific-purpose programmes and funds managed by its partners, with the remainder delivered directly to partner country governments in the form of project-type interventions.

Japan’s support for multilateral initiatives includes contributions to statistical capacity development in the context of the IMF’s capacity development programme, including the Data for Decisions (D4D) Fund. It also includes funding for the UN SIAP, the training institute of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, which Japan supported with USD 6.2 million (in 2018 prices) between 2010 and 2018. Further initiatives in collaboration with multilateral organisations in the past were Japan’s support for socio-demographic and economic survey work in Afghanistan (2012, via the United Nations Population Fund, USD 8.2 million in disbursements in 2018 prices), strengthening of agricultural and food security statistics (2012-15, via the Food and Agriculture Organization, USD 3 million) and support for the development of a birth registration system in Timor-Leste (2018, via the United Nations Children’s Fund, USD 2.4 million).


← 1. The analysis in this profile is based on official data reported by members to the OECD’s Creditor Reporting System. It is published under the responsibility of the OECD. OECD analysts mined the database using a text search with manual curation. Where relevant, members contributed additional data to fill gaps. Please see the methodological annex for further details on the data analysis.

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