The increasing competition between Japan and China in infrastructure development would benefit the countries in the Asean region including the Philippines.
Professor Yukiko Nishikawa of Nagoya University stressed that China is expanding its influence in the Asean region particularly in infrastructure development.
“This apparent competition will benefit the ASEAN member-states as they will have more bargaining power to gain better opportunities,” said Nishikawa.
She told a recent international forum on Asian development studies that Japan would focus on a new area of cooperation in terms of defense aid which is supported by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“This is partly because Japan and China and some other countries continue to struggle to maintain security in the Pacific region and that Japan is also looking at the situation in the South China Sea.”
While Japan’s official development assistance prohibits any use of ODA for military purposes or for aggravation of international conflicts, Nishikawa explained that its ODA has been has contributed to the political and defence area in terms of international cooperation.
Japan has contributed to providing ships and arms to Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries. Nishikawa said that Japan will increase its cooperation with ASEAN in terms of disaster management and rehabilitation.
Nishikawa noted that Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the region has been one of the largest, which focuses mainly on infrastructure development.
In the Philippines, Japan has continuously provided infrastructure development aid including the rehabilitation of the Manila Metro Rail Transit 3.
From 2012 to 2017, Japan has funded the establishment of the Disaster Emergency Logistics System for ASEAN, which aimed to provide emergency relief items to ASEAN member-states in the event of a medium- to large-scale disaster. Its second phase has been implemented in 2018 and will end by 2020 which aims to advance the disaster emergency logistics of ASEAN member-states by building warehouses in the Philippines and Thailand to aid in faster disaster response.