Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien nav lang search
Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

In Regional Embrace or Global Change? Japanese and Foreign Assistance to Post-Marcos Philippine Development

January 28, 1998

Ben Warkentin, Dokkyō University

The talk of Ben Warkentin will focus on recent changes in the foreign relations of the Philippines, which have been traditionally dominated bythe assistance of the U.S. and Japan.

Ten years ago, the United States government was credited for having assisted the peaceful revolution that brought Aquino to power while maintaining two of ist largest overseas military facilities on the islands. It also gave substantial support to Manilas counterinsurgency campaign, shielded the government during the worst of several military coup attempts, and arranged for a mulitlateral Mini-Marshall Plan among others.
While critics called such U.S. assistance neocolonialist, Japan – accused of taking a security free ride – was seen of standing by idly. Seeking economic advantages through ist massive foreign assistance program and recycling ist foreign surplus in ist Asian backyard with the help of other official funds was considered an inefficient development policy and worse.Today, the U.S. military bases are long gone, U.S. assistance has evaporated,and Washingtons military interest in the Philippines has declined to the degree of ist relevance in overall US-East Asian economic relations.
While violent political conflicts declined and the Philippine economy entered a period of high growth around 1993, Japans assistance has ingrained a considerable degree of administrative and financial influence in the country,suggesting a silent triumph of ist economic cooperation over the U.S. kind of political intervention.
The talk will describe some stages of this change and present statistical, historical and case-study-type evidence to discuss two alternative explanations for it, a scenario of hegemonic donor competition and a scenario of global change.

Ben Warkentin is a Ph.D. candidate at Dokkyo University Faculty of Law and has contributed to Marie Soederbergs book quote;The Business of Japanese Foreign Aid. Five Case Studies from Asiaquote; (London/New York: Routledge,1996).