The key concept underpinning JICA operations since its establishment in 1974 has been the conviction that “capacity development” is central to the socioeconomic development of any country, regardless of the specific operational scheme one may be undertaking, i.e. expert assignments, development projects, development study projects, training programs, JOCV programs, etc.
Within this wide range of programs, Training Programs have long occupied an important place in JICA operations. Conducted in Japan, they provide partner countries with opportunities to acquire practical knowledge accumulated in Japanese society. Participants dispatched by partner countries might find useful knowledge and re-create their own knowledge for enhancement of their own capacity or that of the organization and society to which they belong.
About 460 pre-organized programs cover a wide range of professional fields, ranging from education, health, infrastructure, energy, trade and finance, to agriculture, rural development, gender mainstreaming, and environmental protection. A variety of programs and are being customized to address the specific needs of different target organizations, such as policy-making organizations, service provision organizations, as well as research and academic institutions. Some programs are organized to target a certain group of countries with similar developmental challenges.
Japan was the first non-Western country to successfully modernize its society and industrialize its economy. At the core of this process, which started more than 140 years ago, was the “adopt and adapt” concept by which a wide range of appropriate skills and knowledge have been imported from developed countries; these skills and knowledge have been adapted and/or improved using local skills, knowledge and initiatives. They finally became internalized in Japanese society to suit its local needs and conditions.
From engineering technology to production management methods, most of the know-how that has enabled Japan to become what it is today has emanated from this “adoption and adaptation” process, which, of course, has been accompanied by countless failures and errors behind the success stories. We presume that such experiences, both successful and unsuccessful, will be useful to our partners who are trying to address the challenges currently faced by developing countries.
However, it is rather challenging to share with our partners this whole body of Japan’s developmental experience. This difficulty has to do, in part, with the challenge of explaining a body of “tacit knowledge,” a type of knowledge that cannot fully be expressed in words or numbers. Adding to this difficulty are the social and cultural systems of Japan that vastly differ from those of other Western industrialized countries, and hence still remain unfamiliar to many partner countries. Simply stated, coming to Japan might be one way of overcoming such a cultural gap.
JICA, therefore, would like to invite as many leaders of partner countries as possible to come and visit us, to mingle with the Japanese people, and witness the advantages as well as the disadvantages of Japanese systems, so that integration of their findings might help them reach their developmental objectives.
For enquiries and further information, please contact the JICA office or the Embassy of Japan. Further, address correspondence to:
JICA Tokyo International Center (JICA Tokyo)
Address: 2-49-5 Nishihara, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0066, Japan
TEL: +81-3-3485-7051 FAX: +81-3-3485-7904