The IMF, an international organization of currently 184 member countries, was established in 1946 to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements; to provide temporary financial assistance to countries with balance of payments difficulties; and to foster economic growth and high levels of employment. To achieve these objectives, the IMF carries out three types of operational activities: surveillance, financial assistance, and technical assistance.
The Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Asia is a program for graduate studies in macroeconomics or related fields at various universities in Japan. The program is aimed at promising, young officials in central banks or in ministries of finance, economy, or planning in the Asia, Central Asia, and Pacific regions.9 The program, which is operated under the JSA, offers 12- and 24-month scholarships and is in the process of being expanded from the previous 25 scholarships per year to about 50 scholarships each year. For the academic year 2002, 31 scholarships were awarded.10 There are two forms of scholarships. Scholars accepted under the “partnership track” participate in specially designed courses offered by one of four participating universities,11 while the “open track” is available to candidates who have already been accepted to a graduate-level program in macroeconomics or a related field at any leading university in Japan. The program is currently administered by the IMF’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Tokyo.
The IMF began to provide technical assistance to its member countries in the early 1960s in response to requests from newly independent nations in Africa and Asia. By the mid-1980s, resources devoted to technical assistance had nearly doubled. As a result of the expansion of the IMF’s membership and the adoption of market-oriented economies by a large number of countries worldwide, IMF technical assistance activities grew even more rapidly in the early 1990s. The demand increased further in the late 1990s as significant technical assistance resources had to be directed to countries hit by financial crisis. In addition, in recent years, the IMF has had to mount significant efforts to provide prompt policy advice and operational assistance to countries emerging from conflict situations. Currently, the IMF devotes some 350 person years to technical assistance activities, plus some $10 million for training and scholarships annually.5 The delivery of IMF technical assistance over the period FY1998–FY2003 is shown in Figure 1.