Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity




Aid quality is just as important as aid quantity, so the CDI measures gross aid as a share of GDP adjusted for various quality factors: it subtracts debt service, penalizes “tied” aid that makes recipients spend aid only on donor goods and services, rewards aid to poor but relatively well-governed recipients, and penalizes overloading poor governments with many small projects.

Japan’s aid performance

  • Score: 1.0
  • Rank: 25


  • Small share of tied or partially tied aid (4.9%; rank: 9)
  • Large share of aid to poor and better-governed recipients (selectivity rank: 2)
  • Low net aid volume as a share of the economy (0.13%; rank: 22)
  • Allows project proliferation; small average project size (rank: 24)


International trade has been a force for economic development for centuries. The CDI measures trade barriers in rich countries against exports from developing countries. It also penalizes costly importation processes and restrictions against purchasing services from foreigners.

Japan’s trade performance

  • Score: 1.6
  • Rank: 25


  • Low agricultural subsidies (equivalent to a tariff worth -0.5% of the value of imports; rank: 1)
  • Low tariffs on beef (26.8 % of the value of imports; rank: 5) 
  • Low tariffs on textile (5 % of the value of imports; rank: 2) 
  • Relatively low cost to import a shipping container ($880 per container; rank: 8)
  • High tariffs on agricultural products (105.6% of the value of imports; rank: 26)
  • High tariffs on rice (479.9 % of the value of imports; rank: 27)
  • High tariffs on wheat (114.5 % of the value of imports; rank: 26)
  • Many limitations on the importation of services (Services Trade Restrictions Index score: 24.7 ; rank: 24)


Rich-country investment in poorer countries can transfer technologies, upgrade management and create jobs. Conversely, policies that permit financial secrecy of companies and banks can facilitate illicit activities and financial flows abroad. The CDI rewards policies that support healthy investment in developing countries and promote transparency in financial transactions at home.

Japan’s finance performance

  • Score: 3.9
  • Rank: 24


  • Political risk insurance agency provides wide coverage and screens potential projects for violations of human, labor and environmental rights
  • Provides assistance to companies looking for investment opportunities in developing countries
  • Low score in the Bribe Payers Index (rank: 1)
  • Negligence in identifying bribery and corrupt practices
  • Scores below average in the Financial Secrecy Index for having few regulations in place to prevent illicit financial transactions within its jurisdiction (rank: 22)


The movement of people from poor to rich countries provides unskilled immigrants with jobs, income and knowledge. This increases the flow of money sent home by migrants abroad and the transfer of skills when the migrants return.

Japan’s migration performance

  • Score: 2.3
  • Rank: 23


  • Large share of foreign students from developing countries (77.7%; rank: 8)


  • Small number of immigrants from developing countries entering Japan (rank by share of population: 23)
  • Bears small share of the burden of refugees during humanitarian crises (rank: 26)


Rich countries use a disproportionate amount of scarce resources, and poor countries are most vulnerable to global warming and ecological deterioration, so the CDI measures the impact of policies on the global climate, fisheries and biodiversity.

Japan’s environment performance

  • Score: 3.8
  • Rank: 25


  • Low greenhouse gas emissions rate per capita (9.7 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent; rank: 11) 


  • Greenhouse gas emissions grew almost as fast as GDP over the last decade (average annual growth rate/GDP, -1.23%; rank: 25)
  • High consumption of ozone-depleting chemicals per capita (rank: 25)
  • Low gas taxes ($0.61 per liter; rank: 23)
  • Poor compliance with mandatory reporting requirements under multilateral environmental agreements relating to biodiversity (rank: 21)
  • High tropical timber imports ($31.18 per capita equivalent: rank: 27)


Since security is a prerequisite for development, the CDI rewards contributions to internationally sanctioned peacekeeping operations and forcible humanitarian interventions, military protection of global sea lanes, and participation in international security treaties. It also penalizes arms exports to poor and undemocratic governments.

Japan’s security performance

  • Score: 4.5
  • Rank: 18


  • No arms exports to poor and undemocratic governments (rank by share of GDP: 1)
  • Participates in major international security treaties and regimes
  • Relatively large contribution to the UN Peacekeeping Operations budget (rank by share of GDP: 2)
  • Low personnel contributions to UN peacekeeping and humanitarian interventions over last decade (rank by share of GDP: 26)
  • Low personnel contributions to internationally-sanctioned peacekeeping and humanitarian interventions over last decade (rank by share of GDP: 27)


Rich countries contribute to development through the creation and dissemination of new technologies. The CDI captures this by measuring government support for R&D and penalizing strong intellectual property rights regimes that limit the dissemination of new technologies to poor countries.

Japan’s technology performance

  • Score: 6.2
  • Rank: 5


  • Significant government support for R&D (rank: 5)
  • Restricts copyrighting of databases
  • Provides patent exceptions for research purposes
  • Allows patents on plant and animal varieties
  • Allows patents on software innovations
  • Imposes strict limitations on anti-circumvention technologies that can defeat encryption of copyrighted digital materials