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Historical Changes in U.S. and Japanese Foreign Aid to the Asia–Pacific Region

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This study examines responses of the world's two largest foreign-aid donors, the U.S. and Japan, to the end of the Cold War. Using the Asia-Pacific region to assess changes in U.S. and Japanese aid policies, the analysis compares the rhetoric and discourses evident in policy documents with actual aid disbursements to the region before and after the Cold War. In the early days of the post-Cold War, the U.S. refocused aid discourse from geopolitics toward “sustainable development” and “democratization,” but these goals are now challenged by an aid-fatigued and Republican-dominated Congress. By contrast, Japanese support for aid remains strong. The declared purpose of Japanese aid has been broadened beyond their Cold War commercial orientation toward global goals. In terms of disbursements to the region, the U.S. and Japan have responded in opposite ways. While the Japanese are increasing their presence in the region, the U.S. is disengaging, and the gap between the two is increasing over time. The Japanese appear to have adopted a regional political role commensurate with their economic power
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Keywords: Asia–Pacific region; Japan; U.S; discourse; foreign aid; foreign policy; geoeconomics; global political change

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University 2: Department of Geography and Program in International Studies, University of Miami

Publication date: 1997-03-01

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