Starting with the origins of Japanese aid, this Briefing Paper analyses the volume and direction of the programme. It then considers the role aid plays in Japan's foreign policy and the special features of Japan's aid administration. It concludes by looking at the future directions Japanese aid policy can take. The Paper warns that because Japanese aid has expanded so vigorously, it is easy to assume that volume increases will continue. However, if Japan encounters economic setbacks, the programme could be vulnerable.