U.N. expert urges Japan to boost aid budget, prioritize human rights

A U.N. expert on foreign debt and human rights said Monday Japan should increase its official development assistance in line with a United Nations target and its development cooperation should focus more on human rights.

Cephas Lumina said in a statement that Japan's ODA budget for 2013 has been trimmed by 52.3 percent from 1997 and that the 2012 budget was 0.17 percent of gross national income. He urged Tokyo to adopt a road map for reaching the U.N. target of 0.7 percent of GNI.

Japan "should make a more explicit commitment to incorporating human rights principles into the design, implementation and monitoring of its international development policies," he said.

By focusing on equality, non-discrimination, empowerment and other relevant matters, a rights-based approach would improve the sustainability and effectiveness of Japanese development cooperation, the expert said.

Lumina, a human rights law expert from Zambia who was appointed as independent expert by the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2008, visited Japan from July 16 to 19. He is expected to present his final findings and recommendations to the council in March.