June 27(Monday)

"No. 22 [Reform] Giving Strong Support to NPO Activities: Passage of a 'Groundbreaking System'!"

 

Is your image of civil society movements one of voluntary work and cash-flow problems?
If we take a look overseas, we see many citizens' groups that have a wealth of financial resources, and are engaged in large-scale activities. A legal revision that will make a big step towards reducing the gaps between Japanese and overseas citizens' groups has been realized.

 

 

President of the House of Councillors: The bill is passed by a majority of the House.

 

<January 24, PM's Policy Speech>

Prime Minister: We will introduce a groundbreaking system in the upcoming fiscal year by which, if you make a donation to groups taking on this "New Public Commons," such as certified non-profit organizations, the donation will be eligible as a tax deduction!

 

Groundbreaking tax reform for charitable donations as mentioned by Prime Minister Kan in his speech to the Diet.

 

This has been an issue since the Hatoyama Administration,
and the revised tax law was finally approved and passed on June 22.
When you make a donation to a certified NPO,
just under half the amount you donate will be deductible from income and resident's taxes.
This will mean that approximately half of your donation is made by the central and local government.

 

<The current status of many NPOs...>

Woman: Yes, this is Child Line.

 

Child Line offers a free-dial phone service
for any children under 18 to call and discuss their worries.
The number of calls has been increasing each year. However...

 

<Kumi Ota, Secretary-General, Child Line Support Center>
Ms. Ota: We are in an increasingly difficult position as the number of calls increases.

 

The annual nationwide budget for Child Line
is just less than 2 million yen.
Behind the desire to help children is the burden of covering the costs of the free-dial number.

 

Ms. Ota: So that we can enable children to freely use the Child Line services, we need support from the general public.

 

This financial situation contrasts with the international citizens' group World Vision,
which also works to help children.
Most of its financial resources are donations collected by its offices worldwide.

 

<Nobuhiko Katayama, Secretary General, World Vision Japan>
Mr. Katayama: World Vision in Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan are each collecting between 7 and 10 billion yen in their countries and regions.

 

However, the country in the number one spot for donations is this country!

 

Mr. Katayama: In the United States, if you register a citizens' organization you are immediately eligible for tax relief and it is a very simple system. World Vision Japan still has a long way to go!

 

The United States has long-ago introduced a more advanced system for making donations tax deductible than the one Japan has just introduced.
When he was still a freshman Diet member, Prime Minister Kan visited a number of citizens' groups in the U.S.
Excerpt from a report explaining financial resources for citizens' groups.

 

<Report excerpt: About the group known as "Common Cause">
When I asked about funding I was told that 225,000 members donate $20 a year, making a total of $4.5 million (approx. 950 million yen at that time) of operating income each year.

 

The young Diet member Naoto Kan was impressed by the financial resources of citizens' groups in the U.S., which are supported by generous donations.
So, after 30 years, will NPO activities in Japan finally change too?

 

<Work in other areas/"Livelihood Support Handbook vol. 2" for disaster victims>

Child Line is also working on mental care for the children affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

 

Ms. Ota: The children can't sleep and are afraid of the dark, but don't feel that they can talk about their feelings in such a disaster situation.

 

Now is when funds are truly needed!
We hope that the revision to the tax system will help Child Line and others.

 

Ms. Ota: If we can receive a donation of \1000, we can talk to a child for (approximately) 60 minutes. I think that the change to the law will be very significant for us.



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