December 15th, 2023

The Increasingly Complex Public Debt Problem in Developing Countries
~How to Tackle the Debt Trap Problem and Collaboration with China

One of the issues to be addressed globally in recent years is the debt problem of developing countries. Even before the COVID-19 Pandemic, China has emerged as a creditor, and the problem of "debt traps" in some debtor countries is becoming more apparent. In addition to the weak fiscal and balance of payments management system of developing countries, the declining relative position of the Paris Club as a creditor and the reorganization of multilateral debt treatment frameworks, including China, are also challenges.

In this webinar, we clarified the issues related to the debt problems of developing countries from both sides, the donor and the recipient sides, and discussed topics for future problems and risk mitigation, as well as the progress in creating a new framework and its future prospects.

Although the problems of debtor countries are less severe in scale than in the 1990s, we discussed, from various viewpoints, the future issues including the risks associated with rising interest rates, the fact that financial assistance is becoming a political diplomacy objective in some countries, and how to ensure healthy financial flows to developing countries amid the rise of the Global South.


Date & Time Friday, December 15, 2023, 14:00-15:30 (JST), 13:00-14:30 (SGT)
Event Style Virtual Event via Zoom
Language Japanese (Simultaneous English translation available)
Progress Lecture and Panel Discussion

Panelists (in alphabetical order)

Naohiro Kitano                                                       Presentation Slides 
Professor at Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University


Naohiro Kitano is a Professor at Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University. He joined Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund, Japan (OECF) in 1983. He held various positions, including Representative, Beijing Representative Office, OECF, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University, Director General, Development Assistance Department II, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Director General, East and Central Asia and the Caucasus Department, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and Director, JICA Research Institute. He obtained Ph.D. from Cornell University. His fields of research are city and transportation planning, and development cooperation.


Yumiko Tamura                                                      Presentation Slides
Representative Asian Development Bank (ADB) Japanese Representative Office (JRO)


Since joining ADB in 1998, her career largely focused on the Mekong countries including 7 years in Viet Nam and 3 years in Myanmar where she led the preparation and implementation of the country partnership strategy (CPS), in-country regional cooperation and integration (RCI) activities, and other development assistance initiatives. As an advisor to the President, she was involved in ADB-wide strategic matters while in Director General’s offices for Southeast Asia and East Asia, she was responsible for all resources management, knowledge creation and sharing, and OneADB activities. 



Akihiko Yoshida                                                    Presentation Slides   
Director, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, IMF


Akihiko Yoshida is Director of the IMF Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. Before taking the current position in December 2022, he had held several senior positions in Japanese Ministry of Finance, including Deputy Vice Minister for International Affairs and Deputy Director-General of International Bureau. From 2009-2013, he worked in the IMF as Advisor to the Director of Asia and the Pacific Department (APD). He holds a LL.B. from the University of Tokyo and a Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University.


Hiroshi Watanabe
Pressident,  IIMA


Hiroshi Watanabe graduated from the University of Tokyo Faculty of Law in 1972 and entered the Japanese Ministry of Finance (JMOF) in the same year. He occupied various senior positions in the Tax Bureau, the International Bureau, and others at the JMOF before serving as Vice-Minister of Finance for International Affairs. After retiring from the JMOF in 2007, he became a Professor at Hitotsubashi University Graduate School, Deputy Governor of Japan Finance Corporation (JFC), and President of Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) from 2013 to 2016. Since October 2016, he has been President of the IIMA.