Singapore and Japan will soon update the training programme they jointly run for developing countries, said officials from Japan's overseas development assistance agency. The programme, called the Japan-Singapore Partnership Programme for the 21st Century (JSPP21), turns 20 this year.
"We have a plan to set up a new training course on urban development, which is an area of competitive advantage for Singapore and Japan, and is much needed by Asian countries," said Mr Masayoshi Takehara, a South-east Asia division director in the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
Mr Heng Aik Yeow, director-general of technical cooperation at Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), told The Straits Times: "The new course reflects how we continually refresh the JSPP21 to address emerging development challenges in Asia and elsewhere. This is founded on the longstanding and strong partnership between Jica and MFA's Singapore Cooperation Programme."
Other changes to JSPP21 include more cooperation with the private sector, and an update of older courses, like disaster risk management.
Singapore and Japan are holding 10 courses this year in the areas of security and peace, connectivity, private sector development and disaster risk management. They include topics such as maritime safety management and intellectual property protection.
A community policing course also teaches the experience of Japan's kobans, or neighbourhood police posts. Singapore had modelled its neighbourhood police centres after these kobans.
A total of 380 courses were conducted from 1994 to last year, for 66,000 trainees from 95 countries. Some courses were part of an earlier version of the JSPP21, which ran from 1994 to 1997. Most courses are held in Singapore, with experts from Japan talking about their country's experiences to the trainees.
Singapore stopped receiving development aid from Japan in 1996, and the two countries have since developed a "relationship of equals", said Mr Takehara.