This chapter examines the development and infrastructure of the third sector in Japan. The third sector in Japan can be classified into two different types of organizations: the first is heavily networked with the state and acts as mainstream social welfare service providers within an institutional logic of bureaucracy; the second is typically a product of local communities and engages in advocacy work rather than service provision. This chapter first provides a background on the Japanese third sector and its legal structure before discussing its sources of funding. It also describes changes over time in Japanese civil society and goes on to consider three unique opportunities and challenges faced by nonprofit organizations (NPOs): growing social heterogeneity among citizens; the Japanese state's perceived crisis of legitimacy; and increased desire for greater accountability of public services at the grassroots level. The chapter concludes with case studies of NPOs that attest to Japan's rapidly changing political culture.
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