How JPF Began
When NATO bombings began in Kosovo in April 1999, the killings of Albanian residents intensified, and it resulted in approximately 500,000 people becoming refugees in neighboring states.
In the immediate aftermath, several Japanese NGOs wanted to provide aid for the refugees, but they did not have the financial and/or technical capacity to do so. In order to adequately provide for the refugees, the Japanese NGOs needed to be able to build evacuation centers, set up food distribution systems, provide medical services, manage waste disposal, address hygiene management, and establish an array of other social services. At that time, no Japanese NGO had enough financial capacity to provide sufficient aid on its own nor did it have staff members who had sufficient experience in the many aspects of emergency humanitarian aid.
It was clear that the inability of each individual NGO to provide effective aid on its own would prove to be a challenge for the Japanese NGOs as a whole. As a result, four Japanese NGOs came together and came up with a plan to create what would have been called "Camp Japan" in Albania, a place from which the four Japanese NGOs together planned to provide emergency humanitarian aid for the refugees from Kosovo. The "Camp Japan" plan did not come to fruition as the refugees returned to Kosovo when the bombings ended, but the Planning for Camp Japan taught the Japanese NGO community many valuable lessons regarding emergency aid.
They learned that humanitarian aid organizations needed to be on the ground immediately after the crisis began to conduct needs assessments and make preparations, allowing for a detailed and exhaustive planning process to be completed quickly. It became clear from the Camp Japan experience that NGOs are more flexible and have fewer diplomatic and political restrictions compared to government agencies and that NGOs were able to reach the field soon after the crisis erupted. This proved to be one of the strengths of NGOs.
Through additional exploration to determine the most effective model for Japanese humanitarian aid delivery, it also became clear that cooperation among multiple NGOs and the government but also the business community, (as well as media, academics, and other actors) will be indispensable in increasing the amount and ability of the Japanese community to contribute to humanitarian aid activities across the world. Thus, the Japan Platform concept was born.
The "Japan Platform" Concept - Preparing for massive refugee crisis and large-scale natural disasters with funding and operational plans
The Japan Platform idea was a new framework of coordination and cooperation towards the objective of delivering swift and effective emergency aid. Under this framework, the three parties - NGOs, the business community, and Japanese government (namely the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) - would participate as equal partners and contribute each of their strengths and resources. In preparation for massive refugee crises and large-scale natural disasters, Japan Platform created emergency aid plans and stocked emergency aid goods, using the know-how and the resources of the NGOs and private corporations. In this way, Japan Platform enabled various members of the Japanese community to act quickly and effectively in the event of a natural disaster or refugee crisis.
Also, through the creation of a fund from Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Official Development Assistance funding and through recruiting private donations, we also aim to provide financial support for Japanese NGOs that have weak financial capacity.