Japan joined the World Bank in August 1952, the year after the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Starting in 1953, a number of projects were implemented in Japan with World Bank loans for the development of the nation’s economic foundation, such as electric power generation, basic industries development, transportation, water, and infrastructure.
Japan hosted the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund for the first time in 1964, a symbolic year that clearly showed Japan’s post-war reconstruction and return to the international community. In the same year, the Tokaido Shinkansen (bullet train) Line started operation (loan amount: USD 80 million), and the Tokyo Olympics were held. In 1966, Japan signed its final World Bank loan, and graduated from borrower status in the following year.
Japan strengthened its status as a creditor in the 1970s, and became the second-largest shareholder of the World Bank in 1984, gaining a greater voice as one of the most important partners.
In 2012, moving toward recovery and reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, Japan again became the hosting nation for the Annual Meetings. As part of intellectual contributions from Japan to the world, topics of the Meetings include lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, and Global Health based on Japan’s experience of universal health insurance for more than 50 years.