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NONPROFIT JAPAN OVERVIEW

A Japan that is nonprofit?

No, we are not talking about its current economic slump. There is another Japan which is predicated not just in money or economy. The nonprofit civic sector is emerging in this government- and large corporation- oriented country to claim more democratic social organization. Nonprofit Japan is a Web-based information project to let you know about the Japanese nonprofit sector and civic activities. Initially funded by Ohdake Foundation, the site is created by Aki Okabe.

The Great Kobe (Hanshin-Awaji) Earthquake in 1995 triggered a surge of volunteer activities throughout Japan. Faced with the government inefficiency, citizens organized themselves to help survivors. The volunteer spirit is still high long after the quake experience. Also pressed by the recent business stagnation (and the government incapability to cope with it), citizens have advocated for a change, for a more decentralized, democratic society. Early in 1998, the Japanese parliament finally passed the Nonprofit Organization Law, which, for the first time in Japanese history, enabled grassroots groups to incorporate.

Much has been reported about business in Japan, but not about its civic sector. Nonprofit Japan tries to fill this gap.  Though currently in slump, East Asia is producing strong economies. It is crucial to have self-checking democratic forces within the region in order to have a more peaceful and democratic world in the 21st Century. We focus on Japan, the tiger that emerged earliest - with many problems - in this region. We would like to see this past troubled country to be a leader of  human rights and democracy.