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JAPAN PLATFORM - A New Cooperation of NGOs, Business Community, and National Government

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Background of Foundation

[1] Experience in Albania [Camp Japan]

In Kosovo, a massacre of ethnic Albanians aggravated, triggered by NATO’s aerial bombing started in April 1999, resulting exodus of approximately 500 thousand refugees to neighboring nations. Right after the incident, several Japanese NGOs started to examine the possibility of refugee assistance in Kosovo. The operation of refugee camp requires comprehensive and prompt aid activities ranging various sectors from food distribution, medical treatment, waste disposal, sanitation, and social welfare.

The examination revealed, however, that Japanese NGOs were not able to implement effective aid activities independently; since the respective NGOs had neither sufficient financial foundation nor staff-members with considerable on-the-job experience to implement aid independently. Consequently, four NGOs planed to implement assistance activities by jointly establishing a camp in Albania, named “Camp Japan” for Kosovo refugees. The plan itself was not realized due to the return of refugees to Kosovo followed by ceasing of aerial bombing. Several lessons concerning emergency aid were learned, however, from the experience of the Camp Japan plan.

Regarding the Camp Japan plan, it was possible to draw up a concrete and minute plan promptly since the NGOs had gone to the site right after the crisis and conducted needs-research as well as preparation of camp construction. One of the advantages of NGOs is that they are able to go to the site promptly after a crisis, precisely because they are nongovernmental organizations with less diplomatic and political restrictions compared with government agencies.

Also, in the process of searching how to cover for each other’s weakness through cooperation of plural NGOs and a government, it was found that not only the cooperation between NGOs and a government, but also the cooperation with other sectors, such as business community, media, and academic society, was essential in order to conduct world-class aid activities.

[2] Formulation of “Japan Platform”

Taking into account the lessons learned from the Camp Japan plan, a new framework, a “Japan Platform” conception was formulated. The objects of the framework is that NGOs, business community, and a government agency (Foreign Ministry) work together for the prompter and more effective implementation of emergency aid with a tripartite cooperation system, based on equal partnership, making the most of the respective sectors’ peculiarities and resources. In preparation for a flood of refugees or a devastating disaster, Japan Platform has improved standby functions, such as making emergency aid plans and storing emergency aid supplies, taking advantages of know-how and resources of the respective actors.

Also, Japan Platform aims to offer financial support to financially fragile Japanese NGOs through establishing a fund utilizing Foreign Ministry’s ODA funds as well as inviting donations from private sector.


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