International Trade and Development Institutions
Japan is a member of the United Nations (UN), the IMF,
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
(GATT-- see Glossary).
It also participates in the international
organizations focusing on economic development, including
Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
As a member of the IMF and World Bank, for example,
played a role in the effort during the 1980s to address
international debt crisis brought on by the inability of
developing countries to service their foreign debts as raw
prices fell and their economies stagnated. As a member of
Japan also cooperates with other countries in moderating
the shortrun volatility of the yen and participates in discussions
strengthening the international monetary system.
Japan's membership in the OECD has constrained its
economic policy to some extent. When Japan joined the OECD
it was obliged to agree to OECD principles on capital
liberalization, an obligation that led Japan to begin the
of liberalizing its many tight controls on investment
and out of Japan. Japan is also a participant in the
"gentlemen's agreement" on guidelines for
export credits, which places a floor on interest rates and
terms for loans to developing countries from
GATT has provided the basic structure through which
negotiated detailed international agreements on import and
policies. Although Japan had been a member of GATT since
retained reservations to some GATT articles, permitting it
in place stiff quota restrictions until the early 1960s.
its GATT obligations seriously, however, and a number of
disputes with Japan over its import barriers were
resolved by obtaining GATT rulings, with which Japan
Japan also negotiated bilaterally with countries on
matters of mutual interest.
The international organization with the strongest
presence has been the Asian Development Bank, the
lending agency established in 1966 that made soft loans to
developing Asian countries. Japan and the United States
the largest voting rights in the Asian Development Bank,
has traditionally filled the presidency.
As Japan became a greater international financial power
1980s, its role in financing these trade and development
institutions grew. Previously, the government had been a
participant in these organizations, but as its financial
increased, pressure to expand voting rights and play a
policy role mounted. By the early 1990s, Japan's influence
voting rights in the World Bank and IMF had increased.
Data as of January 1994