2018 Volume 27 Issue 1 Pages 19-33
Late Professor Ishikawa Shigeru devoted his last years to envisaging “recovery” of Japan's intellectual leadership in the aid donor community and, for that purpose, formulation of Japan's own understanding and strategy to support development of Africa, the most important issue for the donor community. As Ishikawa indicated, Japan's low-key stance and isolation emanated from her uniqueness as a donor, such as the origin of aid being war reparation to Asian neighbors, her close and changing relations with industrializing Asian recipients, and initiative on the side of the recipients, which is very different from European countries. Ishikawa claimed, on the other hand, that such uniqueness led to formation of Japan's positive characteristics of patience, attentive dialogue, cooperative works in interaction with recipients. Ishikawa suggested that such characteristics could enable the country to contribute noticeably to development of low-income countries, such as those in Africa. To realize this, however, we have to understand Africa's development challtenges comprehensively. In this context, Ishikawa's framework to analyze economic development as a unique historical process is very useful. The framework is designed to capture three major aspects of economic development, namely, political regime, market economy, and production capacity. Ishikawa himself attempted to apply this framework with reference to Africa and propose necessary actions. To complement his analytical attempts, this paper argues: in addition to Ishikawa's keen attention to patrimonial character of the state, we should consider more about the rootlessness of the state in the political regime dimension; the state rootlessness might be a grave hindrance to development of market economy; severe natural conditions, especially for agricultural development cannot be ignorable to explore the way to enhance production capacity; finally the three dimensions are interconnected in determining economic underdevelopment of African economies. Given these difficult factors, especially the rootlessness of the state, exploration of how to apply meaningfully Japan's said characteristics is now a challenge to those who aspire to take over Ishikawa's lofty aim.