IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Definition and Management of the Third Sector in Japan (Japanese)

Listed author(s):
  • USHIRO Fusao
Registered author(s):

    While Japan has taken liberal steps in reforming its big government welfare state, there has been a significant rise in the type of civil activities geared toward problem solving within Japanese society. However, in order to envision new relationships—i.e., the demarcation of roles and cooperation—between and among the government, corporate, and third sectors as an extension of these developments, it is necessary to define the overall picture of the third sector that embraces various types of entities—public corporations, specified nonprofit organizations, cooperative associations, social enterprises, and so forth—and to understand the status of their management. Public corporations, which altogether form a very complex portfolio of organizations today, have proliferated and diverged over the years under the now-defunct shumu kancho (competent ministry) system that allowed for the formation of public corporations at the discretion of the respective competent government ministries. This paper discusses how Japan should define its third sector, using as a reference the American approach (of defining the third sector as a nonprofit sector) and the European approach (of defining the third sector as a group of social economy organizations). We conducted a questionnaire survey, based upon which to examine the organizational characteristics and management of third-sector organizations in Japan, and this paper presents some ideas derived from the survey findings. Key findings are as follows: (1) Japanese third-sector organizations have a fairly organized and solid management system, (2) there remain considerable problems regarding transparency, (3) the conventional image of third sector organizations as being extremely dependent on the government should be reexamined because only 29.5% of their income is generated by public funds and the breakdown of income by nature shows that voluntarily-offered funds ("voluntary income") account for only 22.3% with the remaining 77.8% coming from their operations ("earned income"), and (4) 30% to 50% of the third-sector organizations seek to grow and develop by boosting their income.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI) in its series Discussion Papers (Japanese) with number 11027.

    in new window

    Length: 17 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2011
    Handle: RePEc:eti:rdpsjp:11027
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    11th floor, Annex, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) 1-3-1, Kasumigaseki Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-8901

    Phone: +81-3-3501-1363
    Fax: +81-3-3501-8577
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eti:rdpsjp:11027. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (NUKATANI Sorahiko)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.