Japan is ending its four-decades-old financial aid to China this March. 

The official Development Assistance (ODA) program was implemented in December 1979 and has played a significant role in China’s economic growth. Economic aid is Yen loans that provide necessary funds for developing countries over a long period at low-interest rates, in addition to free financial assistance and technical assistance.

Over the past 43 years, the country has become the biggest donor to China’s economy, accounting for 66.9% of the world’s total aid to China. At the same time, China is also Japan’s largest aid recipient. 

As of 2015, Japan had accumulated $32.2 billion in aid to China, including $29.04 billion in concessional loans and more than $1.35 billion in free assistance. In addition, the fund for technical aid exceeded $1.62 billion, which was for 367 economic infrastructure projects.

Japan’s infrastructure spending has helped China with, including Beijing’s international airport, the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Wuhan Tianhe Airport, and the Shanghai Baoshan Power Plant.

Epoch Times cited Bonnie S. Glaser, a senior adviser on Asian affairs and a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Glaser said Japan had been the biggest propeller behind China’s economic transformation.

Unfortunately, mainland Chinese are often unaware of such dedicated schemes.

Bokudo Mizoguchi, director of the Institute of Asian Culture, History and Politics, said in an interview with Epoch Times that Beijing’s propaganda system has skipped mentioning Japan’s relationship with Chinese people. 

Mizoguchi said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), established in 1949, or 20 years after Japan started its ODA program with China, has often oppositely referred to Japan.

Mizoguchi said, “The Japanese government and people have been helping those who see us as the enemy.”

Keiko Kawasoe, a well-known Japanese writer, and Professor Ding Shufan, a researcher at the Center for International Relations at Taiwan’s National Chengchi University, confirmed that Japan had provided much assistance to China. Such contributions have been taken for granted by the CCP.

About why the CCP concealed information about Japan’s ODA to the public, Ding Shufan explained that China’s textbooks since the 1980s tended to exaggerate Japanese militarism to criticize Japan as a way to coerce Japan to provide more aid and at the same time divert the people’s dissatisfaction with Chinese society to Japan.

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