The Changing Face of NGOs
in Japan

by Atsushi Yamakoshi

Nongovernmental organizations, popularly called NGOs, address a gap in the relationship between people and government. In the United States, where NGO activities are much more common than in Japan, these organizations outside of government either provide a way to influence government for or against legislation or offer individuals a platform for community-oriented activism on a particular cause or interest. In Japan the relationship between governed and government has been somewhat different, which has had a corresponding impact on the formation of NGOs.

Several elements influence the reasons that American and Japanese NGOs differ. Among these are: different religious attitudes to charity and social service, the power of the central government and dissimilar social circumstances between the United States and Japan. In particular, NGO activities have not developed in Japan to the degree that the Japanese people have trusted and relied on the government.

Now, however, criticisms of politicians and the bureaucracy from both within and outside Japan have challenged that trust. Inasmuch as NGOs furnish alternatives to government activities, the role of NGOs will become more important in Japan's future.

Japanese NGOs -- Their Origins And Characteristics

Anthropologists describe Japanese people as having an insider/outsider mentality; people tend to be less concerned with those outside their immediate group, which is among the factors used to explain why nongovernmental organizations developed differently in Japan than in the United States. Other factors include an absence of the western religious prescription for charity and the Japanese belief in the overarching role of government. While the background situations that prompt formation of NGOs may vary from country to country, the style of organizations generally is similar.

A report on NGOs by a study group headed by Michio Hashimoto, president of the Overseas Environmental Cooperation Center, described four types of NGOs in Japan. They deal with: development, advocacy, financial cooperation or education.[1] Development-type NGOs handle concerns involving agriculture, refugees, medical activities, or other basic human needs. Advocacy NGOs criticize government policies based on their own research and study. Financial cooperation-type NGOs specialize in collecting donations for the use of other NGOs that implement actual projects. Education-type NGOs implement educational programs in such areas as environment and development.

Taisitiroo Satoo, president of the Japan Wildlife Research Center, categorizes environmental NGOs as biting dogs, barking dogs and working dogs.[2] Biting dogs are good at biting governments or industries concerning environmental policies. Barking dogs bark from a safe distance, issuing warnings and appealing to the middle-class majority. Working dogs devote themselves to basic study and research.

These descriptions are not unlike those of American NGOs. In the United States and elsewhere, NGOs fall into the class of nonprofit organizations. Lester Salamon, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and head of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, has identified six characteristics of the nonprofit sector, which, he says, is a collection of organizations that are: formally constituted; private, as opposed to governmental; not profit-distributing; self-governing; voluntary; and of public benefit.[3] These characteristics fit most NGOs.

Moreover, NGOs in the United States often are defined by their tax-exempt status. The tax code distinguishes such tax-exempt groups as corporations organized under an act of Congress -- 501(c)(1); title-holding companies -- 501(c)(2); and religious, charitable, educational or similar organizations meeting the criteria for 501(c)(3).

Despite similarities in the functions of NGOs of various countries, the U.S. and Japanese groups differ in why they originated and how they operate. The Judeo-Christian ethic that underlies many American private volunteer organizations promotes the idea of people helping one another. Japanese people also help each other, but the outreach tends to be limited to those within a circle -- for example, in a family, company or a village. Those outside the immediate circle are considered to be the responsibility of their own community. Although charity also is part of Japan's heritage -- records back to at least the eighth century describe monks and nobles aiding the needy (see JEI Report No. 18A, May 4, 1990) -- the view of charity in Japan appears to differ from the Judeo-Christian ethic. As described by Kazuo Nukazawa, managing director of Keidanren (Japan Federation of Economic Organizations), the "[U.S.] philosophy is charity; ours is to help those who help themselves. ...[T]he Christian way of helping others is that whether he or she helps himself or herself is immaterial."[4]

Nevertheless, the Christian-oriented attitude played a role in one of Japan's first international NGOs, the Japan Overseas Christian Medical Cooperation Service. According to the Japanese NGO Center for International Cooperation, established in October 1987, the Japan Overseas Christian Medical Cooperative Service and OISCA International were among the first internationally oriented NGOs to form in Japan.[5] JOCS was established in March 1960 to "atone for the destruction and atrocities [that] Japan inflicted upon Asian countries during World War II [and to unite] all Christian religions to provide better medical services to Southeast Asian and other countries.[6] JOCS activities are focused on sending doctors, health aides, nurses and nutritionists to developing countries and coordinating training sessions for health workers from third world countries in Japan. The idea of charity promoting self-help was behind one of the other early international Japanese NGOs, OISCA (the Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement) International. Established in 1961 and legally incorporated as the OISCA Industrial Development Body in 1969, the organization has conducted training programs in agriculture and fisheries in centers overseas, sent personnel abroad and administered technical transfers and forestry projects. Domestically, OISCA has trained people from developing countries and implemented various surveys.

Social welfare institutions that have developed in Japan underscore the dual expectation that individuals who can help themselves will do so and that government will assist those who have trouble helping themselves. Mr. Salamon noted that, by contrast, Americans long have been skeptical about government assistance in social and welfare situations. "Reflecting a deep-seated tradition of individualism and an ingrained hostility to centralized institutions," he says, "Americans have resisted the worldwide movement toward exclusively governmental approaches to social welfare provision, adding new governmental provisions only with great reluctance, and then structuring them in ways that preserve a substantial private role."[7]

While Americans' skepticism of central government powers helps explain why NGOs have flourished here, a collapsed faith in government responding to certain critical situations explains why a some NGOs evolved in Japan. When neither government nor industry responded to concerns voiced about 100 years ago regarding mining hazards in the Ashio copper mining area, farmers led by Shozo Tanaka formed what is considered one of the first environmental NGOs in Japan. Later, during Japan's postwar period of high economic growth, industrial pollution in such areas as Minamata and Yokkaichi caused social problems that many citizens sought to combat. They formed groups to support victims and pushed the government and industry to solve the problems. Many of the groups also spearheaded legal battles to win recognition of the need for government and industry to respond to concerns about pollution.

A history of animosity developed between industries and NGOs over pollution battles, and only recently have the hostilities begun to subside -- although the scars of distrust still are deep. Many companies blamed by NGOs for industrial pollution in the late 1960s contended that the arguments used by these NGOs most typically were based on emotion rather than science. The hostile image formed by these NGOs led to most companies refusing to make financial contributions to NGO activities. Although U.S. companies often had similar complaints, many have sought to adopt "green" standards and have given financial support to some of the biggest American environmental NGOs. For Japanese NGOs, as for many American ones, there has been a feeling that they lose credibility and political influence if they receive financial support from companies. As a result, NGOs in Japan came to be recognized as "pure but poor." The divide between NGOs and companies in Japan also may have remained deep because of workers' close identification with their companies (which limits private membership drives in areas where companies are major employers). Other factors could be a lack of sophisticated public relations know-how by NGOs and the government's tendency to look out for industry rather than consumers.

Operational Differences Between American And Japanese NGOs

Given differing backgrounds, it is no surprise that surface differences between U.S. and Japanese NGOs would be quite striking. Their sizes, for example, have little in common. An estimated 1.3 million nonprofit organizations employ 7.7 million people (7 percent of the total labor force) in the United States. In Japan the number of nonprofit organizations is reported to be about 21,000. Though this number includes only organizations approved under the strict standards of Japanese Civil Law and excludes most community activities,[8] there still is no question about the scale of nonprofit activities being much bigger in the United States than in Japan.

The strict standards of Japan's Civil Law that complicate formation of Japanese NGOs include a provision that, before a Japanese NGO can be established, founders must obtain authorization from each concerned agency of the central government. Tax-exempt status generally takes two or three years. Therefore, many would-be NGOs in Japan prefer an arbitrary, undefined status to a legal one even though they miss the advantages associated with tax-exempt status when they seek financial support from companies and individuals. In contrast, American NGOs must apply to the government of each state in which they want legal status. The examination period for tax-exempt status usually takes only a couple of months in this country.

The taxation system for donations is quite different between the United States and Japan. U.S. companies and individuals can deduct a portion of their donations from their income taxes for "public charities." Before an amendment in the 1980s they could claim a full deduction, up to 10 percent of their annual profit or 50 percent of their annual income. Under these regulations charitable giving became well-established in the United States. In Japan companies can deduct donations up to 0.125 percent of their capital plus 1.25 percent of their annual profit. This is called the general ceiling. When a donation is made to government-operated organizations or those specially registered by the government, no limitation is imposed. If the donation goes to organizations authorized by the government as a "special public interest promotion organization," the ceiling is twice that of the general ceiling. In the case of individuals a tax exemption is allowed only when their donation goes to the government-owned or government-authorized organizations or one that is specially registered. The ceiling is 25 percent of an individual's income. Partly because of these different funding incentives, NGO activities have been less developed in Japan than in the United States. The reasons behind these differences in tax treatments are unclear, however. Perhaps more pressure existed in this country to establish the tax laws favoring NGOs because they were perceived here as a more important component in the society than they were in Japan, whereas in Japan perhaps the community-based, single focus of many Japanese NGOs lacked the political clout to get more favorable tax treatment in a society that generally was not disposed to NGOs.

The lack of financial backing is a serious problem for NGOs in Japan. OISCA, one of the country's biggest NGOs, operates with an annual budget of about $20 million. In contrast, the annual budget for CARE (Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere), a big American NGO, was $434.5 million for the year ending in June 1993. Among environmental NGOs The Nature Conservancy operates on an annual budget of around $300 million, whereas the budget of its Japanese counterpart, the Nature Conservation Society of Japan, is around $3 million. CARE has 7,450 employees, whereas OISCA employs about 200 people. TNC has a staff of 1,300 people, whereas NACS-J employs about 20 people.

Relations Between NGOs And Government

Government in the United States has begun to recognize the importance of NGOs in the policymaking and implementation process. Yuko Iida Frost, formerly a research assistant in the Brookings Foreign Policy Studies Program, notes, "Among the chief roles of those organizations and volunteers is to keep an eye on the government and make sure citizens' voices are heard by policymakers at both the local and federal level."[9] Thus, the NGO is an important tool for U.S. communities and people to show their initiative in building a better society. While some economic development officials have considered environmental NGOs to be obstructionists rather than helping to advance their own notion of progress, the trend toward government cooperation has been growing. "In 1978 Congress highlighted the national interest in supplementing the financial resources of PVOs [private and voluntary organizations] and cooperatives in order to 'expand their overseas development efforts without compromising their private and independent nature.'"[10] The U.S. Agency for International Development emphasized the importance of its partnership with private and voluntary organizations in a 1982 policy paper. "Since the end of World War II, the United States Government has facilitated various aspects of PVO work in an expanding way. ... The steadily growing cooperation with the private and voluntary agencies reflects the U.S. Government's belief that the programs of these agencies embody the traditional humanitarian ideals of the American people and support a principal objective of the foreign policy of the United States."[11]

Although the situation in Japan may be beginning to change, the lack of government backing for NGOs has significant consequences. In the summer of 1992, just after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June that year, the Environment Agency of Japan conducted a survey to understand the problems and the needs of Japanese NGOs engaged in environmental protection at home and abroad.[12] The agency sent a questionnaire to 661 Japanese environmental NGOs and got responses from 386 organizations. The result was striking. More than 60 percent of the respondents said they operate on an annual budget of less than $100,000. Nearly half of the respondents said they did not have a single paid staff person working full time. About the same percentage of respondents were in need of both financial and human resources. In their responses to the survey they indicated an expectation that the government might provide some type of financial assistance. In the long term, private contributions are expected to be the mainstay of NGO financing. This money can come either from corporations, which tend to have larger wallets, or from individuals.

Present Day Situation Of NGOs In Japan

The Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992, increased people's attention to global environmental issues and the role of NGOs in this area. People in Japan were not an exception. In the time leading up to the summit and afterward NGOs began to see attitude changes in government and the populace. These were particularly evident in initiatives taken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and the Environment Agency as well as in the business confederation, Keidanren.

NGOs Aid Assistance Division - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the lead agency on foreign aid, has begun emphasizing the importance in aid projects of NGOs that provide grass-roots activities in developing countries. Not only does this help alleviate the dearth of human resources in charge of implementing Japan's ever-growing official development assistance but the use of NGOs brings more local involvement. Accordingly, the ministry established a special center for supporting NGO activities in 1989 with a start-up sum of about $1 million. In June 1994 the center became the ministry's NGOs Aid Assistance Division. Budget increases have been dramatic. In FY 1993 the division contributed $3.7 million to Japanese NGO activities and budgeted to contribute $5.4 million in FY 1994. In addition, the division contributed $7.7 million to NGOs for operations in FY 1993 and $8.7 million in FY 1994.

Postal Savings for International Voluntary Aid - In July 1989 a private advisory council to the director general in charge of savings at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications included a unique idea for humanitarian assistance. The idea is for each postal saver to be able to donate a part of his or her interest on savings to organizations that assist refugees or persons experiencing troubles because of natural disasters. The share of interest that could be contributed eventually was set at 20 percent. The ministry agreed to collect the donations and contribute to the betterment of social welfare in developing countries through NGO activities. In its first year of implementation, 1990, this plan registered 2 million participants. The number of participants increased to 15 million by the end of July 1994. Donations amounted to $24 million in 1993.

Japan Fund for Global Environment - The Japan Fund for the Global Environment is the Environment Agency's initiative to involve NGOs in environmental efforts. The JFGE includes funding from the national government as well as private donations. Its purpose is to provide NGOs with financial support, information and training. The fund amounted to $20 million at the end of March 1994 and is continuing to increase. In 1993 the fund contributed $4 million to 104 projects.

Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund - Keidanren, a leading business organization in Japan, established its Nature Conservation Fund in 1992 to support foreign and domestic NGOs carrying out nature conservation projects in developing countries. With its membership consisting of around 1,000 top Japanese companies and 120 industrial associations, Keidanren deals with environmental issues basically from the viewpoint of business. For instance, when the Japanese government tried to introduce severe regulations against industrial pollution starting in the late 1960s, Keidanren insisted that these regulations should be realistic ones based on scientific data. In some cases Japanese companies worked to achieve better energy efficiencies and solve industrial pollution because they saw opportunities for improved competitiveness and took their own initiative; in other cases they were prodded by government. Improved air and water quality have resulted, while economic growth has continued.

The Keidanren fund is one of several recent efforts by the organization that places it on a different footing with NGOs that criticized it in the late 1960s period of high industrial pollution for putting a higher priority on business interests than on the protection of the environment. For the most part during this process, environmental NGOs were outside the mainstream of economic and political decisionmaking and, in that sense, viewed Keidanren as something of an enemy. This image changed little until Keidanren announced its Global Environmental Charter in April 1991. The charter stated that Japanese business should not rely on past achievements in environmental protection but should continue to respond to today's more complicated and serious global environmental issues. In particular, the charter emphasized the importance of voluntary efforts by companies rather than enforcement by regulations. Based on this idea, the charter set out detailed corporate guidelines and requested that Keidanren members draft their own environmental policies and then work to fulfill them.

The worldwide focus on the environment in the late 1980s and early 1990s before the Earth Summit was the background for many of Keidanren's initiatives. Concerns about extinction of species and damage to habitats was behind the 1992 Keidanren dispatch of a delegation to the Palau islands to investigate biodiversity and how The Nature Conservancy, an American NGO, had implemented a nature conservation project there. The Nature Conservation Fund was established in the same year. Through the fund's support for both foreign and domestic NGOs, one expectation by Keidanren officials is that Japanese NGOs will have chances to learn from American and other countries' experiences in the area of nature conservation. The first distribution of $1 million in project money to several U.S. and Japanese NGOs was announced in February 1994. The selected projects include: a nature conservation program in Palau and Indonesia; tagua palm manufacturing assistance in Ecuador; cultivation in Vietnam of cinchona, a tree or shrub whose dried bark contains quinine as well as other alkaloids; natural farming assistance in Tanzania; a personnel training program for Japanese business persons in Tokyo; and cooperative efforts with the World Conservation Union, the World Resources Institute and the United Nations Environmental Program, specifically for the Global Biodiversity Forum. In August 1994 the fund announced the selection of 12 new projects; the next donation of about $1 million will go toward both the old and the new programs. New projects are in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands and Palestine.

The Reactions Of NGOs To Government And Business Initiatives

The reactions from NGOs as a whole to these initiatives by the government and Keidanren are rather complicated. For the most part they have welcomed the increased attention from both sectors, but at the same time they are anxious about the threat to their independence.

Since the relationship between NGOs and business, as represented by Keidanren, formerly involved much distrust, Keidanren's initiative confused and shocked the NGO world. Some NGOs appreciated the organization's efforts and expressed their willingness to work together; others were skeptical. Many of the latter NGOs suspected that receiving financial support from Keidanren could decrease their credibility or political influence. Even those Japanese NGOs that welcomed Keidanren's initiative sometimes have criticized the organization for giving more money to foreign NGOs than to domestic NGOs. This reaction is very interesting because it points to the predominance of foreign over Japanese NGOs in international projects. Additionally, internationally oriented NGOs consider it advantageous to be able to act without paying much attention to the nationality of the majority of their members. The downside of the criticism, according to Lori Forman, director of the Japan Program for The Nature Conservancy, is that "Japanese NGOs have been energetic in criticizing each other rather than in pursuing cooperation."[13]

The government's increased willingness to contribute financial assistance to NGOs can be important in helping NGOs to grow. Too much influence by the government, however, is not necessarily good. Akira Kojima, writing in a leading Japanese newspaper, warns: "If the government initiatives and the sense of nation are too strong, the activities of nonprofit organizations in Japan will be restricted. The government often tries to impose influence on voluntary activities of the private sector. Such an attitude of the government is troublesome because those volunteer activities are important in the area where the government cannot properly deal with the issues."[14]

Barriers To NGO Influence In Japan

As Mr. Kojima's comment indicates, NGOs fill a role outside government. Yet more and more countries also are beginning to realize the important roles that NGOs have in helping to design and implement policies. Recognizing the role that NGOs can play in international policymaking and implementation, the United Nations' charter gives a basis for including NGO representation in deliberations. The charter, which is often credited with giving status to NGOs in international forums, states: "The Economic and Social Council may make suitable arrangements for consultation with non-governmental organizations which are concerned with matters within its competence. Such arrangements may be made with international organizations and, where appropriate, with national organizations after consultation with the Member of the United Nations concerned."[15]

Noting the importance of NGO participation when leaders from more than 160 countries seemed at the 1992 Earth Summit to be confined to representing their individual country's policies and interests, one of Japan's leading NGO advocates, Shusuke Iwasaki, assistant professor at Tsukuba University, pointed out that "the NGO representatives gathered for the conference were able to build a true international partnership."[16] Interestingly, though, many of the NGOs had representatives on official delegations, which was not true for Japan. In fact, some Japanese NGOs tried to upstage government presentations at a Japan Day seminar. This underscored the lack of cooperation between the government and NGOs in Japan. At the recent Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, the importance of NGOs again was clear, but this time Japan decided to include NGO members for the first time on the delegation and not just as advisers.[17]

These steps toward involving domestic NGOs when Japan participates in international forums can have an expected spillover to more involvement in domestic matters. Critics of Japan's new Basic Environment Law have termed as a major weakness the law's lack of support for public participation in early decisionmaking (see JEI Report No. 43B, November 13, 1992). Interaction between government and NGOs is difficult for many reasons. In addition to some organizations wanting to keep an arm's length from business or government funding, some NGO officials comment that information, independent of that provided by government, would benefit NGO efforts. Yasuko Matsumoto of Greenpeace-Japan says, "One of the problems is that there are few independent research institutions in Japan. It is too expensive for NGOs to order research from existing institutions. We worry that the information might be shared by the government. In order to prepare necessary materials to discuss issues with a government agency like MITI it is indispensable for NGOs to cooperate with independent, reliable research institutions and authorities, but it is very difficult to find them and ask for their cooperation. The disclosure of information is also important. The government eventually will get into trouble if people do not have enough information."[18] These comments are similar to those made by advocates for more think tanks in Japan (see JEI Report No. 18A, May 6, 1994).

Independent information is critical for advocacy-style NGOs, whose roles include checking the policies taken by the government or industries. This attitude is summed up by a phrase from the late March 1993 Seoul Declaration towards Cooperation of Environmental NGOs in the Asia-Pacific Region: "As NGOs, we are to keep a watch on government and industry while being a voice for the citizens and environmental victims."[19] Such advocacy long has fulfilled a certain niche in Japan ever since industrial pollution became serious in the late 1960s. As indicated by the frustrations of environmental NGOs trying to influence Japan's Basic Environment Law last year, the search for information and influence by this group remains ongoing.

Independent information also is important to the types of NGOs whose activities supplement those of the government and industries. American NGOs, for instance, have been taking important roles in implementing foreign aid projects. In some cases, they receive these contracts because of their independent information and range of expertise. Environmental NGOs in the United States also sometimes provide government and industry with alternative policy options. Japan does not have enough NGOs of this kind.

The ability of Japanese NGOs to join the decisionmaking process is limited to the degree that necessary information is controlled exclusively by the government; bureaucrats have experienced a kind of autonomy because of the lack of political activism in Japan by the "silent majority." Reform is now underway in Japan to change the "Sei-kan-zai" (politics-bureaucracy-business) cooperative system to one reflecting today's popular political demands. Miwako Kurosaka, a senior associate at the World Resources Institute, has noted that "for a new system to be effective it is necessary to have an institution that is neither government nor business and that reflects people's voices in the policymaking process."[20]

Complicating the role of independent NGOs in Japan are the various quasi-governmental organizations that function as advisory bodies but that are much closer to government than stand-alone NGOs. Many of these organizations are formed by former government officials, and they solicit the same funding sources as do some of the independent NGOs. Some NGOs worry that the tight-knit "old boys' network" is just one more reason for independent nongovernmental organizations not to expect government funding or decisionmaking opportunities. A related problem is the increasing number of voluntary groups, some of which depend on government subsidies for about 80 percent of their budget. These groups are responding to the new initiatives of government, but they also tend to compete, rather than cooperate, with existing NGOs.

Strengthening NGOs And Their Role In Japan's Future

The balancing act of working with government sometimes and being outside of government at other times could make an organization schizophrenic unless it has a strong sense of purpose and support. The growing international movement that encourages interactions between government and NGOs, particularly in foreign aid, suggests that NGOs would benefit greatly from sharing experiences. Hajime Ohta, director of the Industry and Telecommunications department of Keidanren, noted the differing roles of NGOs when he visited Thailand and Vietnam as a member of a delegation organized by the Japan Volunteer Center and Keidanren. "Members of JVC worked on a farm with local people to accomplish sustainable agriculture. Such hard work must be appreciated," he said. But he added, "European and Canadian NGO members talked in English with the local elites, which seemed to me to be more effective in training human resources."[21] Since there are numerous techniques involved in effective project work, Japanese NGOs need to have more opportunities to share experiences with foreign NGOs.

One of the purposes of the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund, in fact, is to provide Japanese NGOs with an opportunity to work with foreign NGOs. Not only does such cooperation expand the know-how and abilities of participating organizations but the experience also gives other countries' NGOs an opportunity to know Japanese participants on a personal level. Instead of looking at Japan simply as a source of funding, or perhaps technical know-how, people in other countries who work with Japanese NGOs can gain a better appreciation of Japan's attempts to raise its international profile. Fumiko Fukuoka, who represents Conservation International in Japan, says, "Japan is often criticized as overspending other countries' resources. This kind of criticism rises because of a lack of mutual trust between companies and communities rather than [it] being a technical issue." She added that "partnering of NGOs from various countries would help to solve problems arising from lack of trust."[22]

Suggesting another reason for Japanese NGOs to become more involved internationally, Hirobumi Tanaka, a reporter for Nikkei Business, noted, "The recent expansion of volunteer activities overseas reflects the extension of social consciousness in the area."[23] But he said that such actions also suggest a vulnerability. "Unless these groups contribute to a solution of the problems that the government, companies and various organizations are facing, the reputation of Japan in the area of international contribution will never grow. Even charitable activities should face a severe reality."[24] Mr. Tanaka's comment reflects the importance of NGOs to Japan's international reputation. When Japanese NGOs begin taking the initiative in various overseas projects and leading international NGO activities, then Japan will be recognized as a world leader in a much more substantial sense.

The Japanese government thus has reason to help strengthen NGOs in Japan, even if in doing so they support organizations that criticize as well as supplement governmental activities. Improved financing methods (including a tax-exempt status for donations to nonprofit groups) plus an extended role in policymaking and in implementation would go far toward increasing public participation in government. Although the public long has trusted government and the bureaucratic elite to decide the best course for the nation, that trust has begun to erode because of political scandals and concern that government regulation may be more problematic for consumers than deregulation and free market choices. A populace that is more involved in the affairs of government is one that could make NGOs a positive force in Japan -- unless, of course, the groups should be too intent on criticizing one another rather than working together.


[1]Kokusai Kankyo Seisaku Kenyukai, "Kankyo Mondai Ni Kansura Seisaku, Seron Keisei Ni Okeru Kokusaiteki na Minkan Soshiki no Yakuwari Ni Kansura Chosa (Research on the Role of International Private Organizations in Establishing Policies, Public Opinion on Environmental Issues." (Working Paper of the Study Group on International Environmental Policies, n.d.)

[2]Taisitiroo Satoo, personal communication, September 9, 1994.

[3]Lester M. Salamon, America's Nonprofit Sector: A Primer (New York: The Foundation Center, 1992), p. 6.

[4]Kazuo Nukazawa, "Learning to Give," in The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan Journal, No. II, (Tokyo: The American Chamber of Commerce, February 1991), p. 20.

[5]NGO Katsudo Suishin Senta (ed.), Chikyuu shimin no midori no dairekutori (Directory of Green NGOs for Global Citizens) (Tokyo: Hon-no-ki, 1992), p. 10.

[6]Japanese NGO Center for International Cooperation, Directory of Nongovernnmental Organizations in Japan, (Tokyo: Japanese NGO Center for International Cooperation), January 1990, p. 26.

[7]Salamon, op. cit, p. xv.

[8]Kiyoshi Mori, "Promoting Nonprofit Activities in Japan," in Washington-Japan Journal, Vol. II, No. 4, Winter 1994 (Washington, D.C.: The Japan-America Society of Washington), p. 23.

[9]Yuko Iida Frost, "A Key to Open Japan? Japan's Nonprofit Sector on the Move," in The Brookings Review, Fall 1993, Vol. XI, No.4 (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution), pp. 28-29.

[10]U.S. Agency for International Development, A.I.D. Policy Paper -- Private and Voluntary Organizations (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Agency for International Development, 1982), p. 1.

[11]Ibid., p. 1.

[12]A summary of the survey is reported in Kazu Kato, "Foreign Partnerships Among NGOs, Business, and National and Local Government," Kankyou Kenkyuu, 1993, No. XCII, pp. 56-60.

[13]Interview with Lori Forman, director of the Japan Program of The Nature Conservancy, on September 7, 1994.

[14]Akira Kojima, "NGO, Sekaiteki Renkei Jidai Ni, (NGOs in the Age of International Partnerships)," Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Sunday Journal), August 14, 1994, p. 11.

[15]Charter of the United Nations, Article 71

[16]"Buraziru Kaigi Kara Ichi Nen -- Chikyu Kankyou To NGO no Yakuwari, (One Year Since the Brazil Conference: The Global Environment and the Role of NGOs)," Kankyou To Kaugai (Environment and Pollution), XXIII, No. 1, July 1993, p. 22.

[17]Asako Murakami, "NGO Expertise Tapped for Cairo," Japan Times, September 2, 1994, p. 3.

[18]Kankyou to Kougai (Environment and Pollution), op. cit., p. 24.

[19]Seoul Declaration Towards Cooperation of Environmental NGOs in Asia-Pacific Region. Kankyou to Kaugai (Environment and Pollution), XXIII, No. 1, July 1993, pp. 18-19

[20]Miwako Kurosaka, "Kankyo, Jinken, Shakai Hatten ni Koou Suru Shimin Kikou wo (Citizens' Organizations Responding to Movements in Environment, Human Rights, Social Development)," Kankyou Shimbun, April 27, 1994, p.1.

[21]Hajime Ohta, "Tai, Betonamu, sizen hogo tuaa no moyoo (Report on nature conservation tour to Thailand and Vietnam)," (Unpublished memorandum, August 15, 1994), p. 4.

[22]Fumiko Fukuoka, "Kigyo to NGO to no Patonaashippu wo (The Partnership between Companies and NGOs is needed)" in Foresight, June 1993, p.84.

[23]Hirobumi Tanaka, "Kaigai borantea, kyakko abiruga sosniki ni morosa (Overseas volunteer activities, attention increased, but organizationally weak)" in Nikkei Business, January 24, 1994, p.69.

[24]Ibid., p. 72.

© Japan Economic Institute.

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