Ten years have passed since the promulgation of the Law Concerning the Promotion of Specific Nonprofit Organization Activities (NPO Law). Many people benefit from NPO services. The central and local governments need to adopt measures to strengthen NPOs’ financial bases and overall ability to carry out their missions professionally.

As of March 31, 34,371 organizations were legally recognized as NPOs. In a multiple-choice survey, 58.2 percent said they were engaged in activities related to medical services, public health and social welfare; 46 percent, community and adult education; 40.5 percent, community development; 32.5 percent, promotion of academic, artistic or cultural activities; and 28.2 percent, environmental protection.

According to a 2006 survey by the Cabinet Office, 36.2 percent of the NPOs had received subsidies or contract money from the government sector in the previous two years and 85.2 percent wanted to receive government funds. This indicates that many NPOs are financially weak. Also 85.3 percent wanted to push their activities in cooperation with the government sector.

But NPOs are not fully satisfied with how they’re treated. Nearly 59 percent complained that the government sector was not conscious of the necessary personnel costs and hoped it would shoulder part of those costs. About 26 percent complained that, in joint activities, the government sector’s financial burden was smaller than NPOs’. About 34 percent complained that contract money from the government sector was not enough.

Feeling a financial pinch and personnel shortages, many in the government sector seem to view NPOs as convenient helpers. The survey results point to the need for the government sector to pay more, including for personnel, when working with NPOs. It also should improve preferential tax measures for NPOs, as well as for businesses and individuals helping NPOs.