MISSIONS OF THE JAPANESE SPECIALISTS IN POLAND – AN OVERVIEW. EXPERIENCE OF THE FIRST STAGE OF THE ASSISTANCE COOPERATION
Japanese foreign assistance started with war reparations which the government of Japan was obliged to pay out after the World War II. Funds were allocated for fi nance projects assigned by governments of the entitled countries. Japan gradually became the biggest individual donor of assistance in the world, and it maintained this position until the end of the 1990s. Presently, Japanese ODA includes three pillars: bilateral loans, technical cooperation and grants. Poland became a recipient of Japanese development assistance in 1989. Direct Japanese assistance for our country has had the value of about 220 millions Euro. One of the most important elements of support for Poland were volunteers – specialists directed by Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers JOCV. The fi rst group arrived in Poland in 1993. To begin cooperation in a region with a specifi c latest history and relatively high technical achievements was an entirely new challenge for the government of Japan. After initial searches for proper formulae, mutual exchange was chosen, rather than a simple transfer of knowledge and skills. During the years 1993-2007, 106 young volunteers were working in Poland.
After Poland joined the EU, a new stage of cooperation between existing donors and recipients of development assistance has started. Situation in which a recipient country has been transformed into a donor has happened for the fi rst time in the history of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The Polish programme of foreign assistance has been developed, among others, on the base of the experience of Polish–Japanese cooperation.