2016 Volume 37 Pages 85-94
This thesis conducted quantitative research on the prefectural and municipal volunteer centers in Japan, which are generally referred to as “public nonprofit organization (NPO) centers.” In Japan, a number of public NPO centers have been established by local governments across the country. Cur- rently, such establishments are located in two-thirds of all prefectures and one-third of all cities. In fact, Japan’s local municipalities have been engaging in some or the other kind of NPO program since the NPO Law was enacted in 1998. The establishment of an NPO center is comparatively more expensive than others. However, in recent years, some of these centers have been criticized for deviating too far from the realistic expectations of each region. Such criticism arises not only from the local third sector but also from within the administrative management.
The first criticism is that the services provided by these centers do not complement regional NPO needs. This was due to the fact that public NPO centers were routinely set up to meet administrative requirements against the wishes of the local third sectors. The results of this quantitative research revealed that Japan’s public NPO centers were launched simultaneously around 2002 and 2006, in accordance with the revision of laws and ordinances related to corporate bodies and administrative management.
The second criticism of NPO centers pertains to how local governments handled outsource proj- ects. It was argued that some local governments persisted with projects which served their own agen- da rather than that of the local community. The public sector has particularly received strong criticism for penetrating NPO outsourcing under administrative control. Some people are concerned that such an administrative method might undermine the autonomy of the third sector. It is possible that such problems are caused by “institutional pressure,” that is, the public sector must achieve a certain level of performance record through NPO outsourcing. Our quantitative research also showed that many local governments often base their decisions in NPO outsourcing on the grounds that “the utilization of the designated manager system has specifically been requested by the administrative management.”