In recent years, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Japan have received strong recognition. Although Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) is one of the largest among industrialized nations, the funding designated to the basic human needs (BHN) approach is disproportionally small compared with other donor nations' aid programs. The role of NGOs and their funding relationship in the Japanese aid program are much weaker than those of the U.S. counterparts.

This study attempts to identify factors that have been determining the status of Japanese NGOs, and various problems Japanese NGOs face. It also proposes some solutions to improve the funding relationship between the government and NGOs within the ODA program.

The data was collected from a series of interviews with governmental officials, NGO administrators and researchers in Japan and in the United Sates. Additional data was obtained from documents from various sources including the Japanese and the United States governments. Two problem solving techniques (KJ method and tree diagram), common tolls for Quality Control Management, were employed to analyze the qualitative/verbal data. The outcomes from these techniques are incorporated in the solutions organized into a Project Design Matrix (Logical Framework), another planning tool used in project design.

The primary finding is that Japanese NGOs have evolved from their own cultural, religious, political and legal contexts which are different from the United States. The environment where they operate shapes how they are managed, where they are positioned in the society, and how their roles are acknowledged. These factors, ultimately, influence the funding relationship within the ODA program. The research found that the Japanese NGO's problems are categorized into three major problems that contribute to the current funding relationship. They are: (1) Insufficient legal and tax systems; (2) Lack of managerial capacity, and (3) Lack of public support.

As the NPO bill is still in debate in the Japanese Diet, the study recommends that Japanese NGOs should emphasize their own capacity building at home. The study also addresses a set of actions that need to be taken care of in order for NGOs, the government and the private sector to improve funding resources available to Japanese NGOs.


Organizational Behavior and Theory