Current Conditions and Challenges of Third-sector Organizations in Japan: Considerations based on the Fourth Survey on the Third Sector (2017)

Author Name USHIRO Fusao (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / SAKAMOTO Haruya (Kansai University)
Creation Date/NO. October 2017 17-J-063
Research Project Research on the Liberalist Reforms of the Public-Private Relationship and the Establishment of the Third Sector in Japan
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This paper provides an overview of the Fourth Survey on the Third Sector (2017) and outlines the results, examining the current conditions and challenges faced by third-sector organizations in Japan from multiple viewpoints. Today, there is no widespread and sufficient understanding on the idea of the third sector itself. In order to clarify it, this study will focus on third-sector organizations, and discuss the importance of analyzing their realities and suggest remaining issues for future analysis.

The Fourth Survey on the Third Sector uses the information listed on the National Tax Agency Corporate Number Publication Site (NTA-CNPS) as its population. Survey questionnaires were mailed to sample organizations selected randomly and respectively from different types of corporate status.

This paper analyzes the results of Fourth Survey on the Third Sector from perspectives including human resources, organizational governance, background and current state of activities, financial status, and relationships with politics and the government, revealing the current conditions and challenges faced by third-sector organizations. From a variety of fundamental facts uncovered by this survey, the new and significant findings have been clarified as follows: (1) large gaps exist in organizational capacity, actual activities, and other facets among "non-profit organizations beyond the competent government agency system," "non-profit organizations under the competent government agency system," and "various types of cooperative associations," resulting in the formation of a "three-layered structure" of third-sector organizations in Japan; (2) the average ratio of women in third-sector organization executives is only 19.5%, indicating a strong gender bias even among third-sector leaders; (3) the "commercialization of non-profits" can be seen among some organizations, such as their implementation of management methods used in for-profit corporations; and (4) the "distrust" of labor unions and "non-profit organizations" are becoming apparent, even within the third sector.