In 2010, Japan had the 10th largest population in the world with about 126 million people and had the 3rd highest GDP in the world. Japan is the world’s fastest aging society, where people aged 65 or over accounted for 23.1% of the total population in 2010 (Population Census 2010).
Meanwhile, the birthrate in 2010 was just 1.39%. The trend of “declining birthrate and aging population” can be said to be one of the current biggest issues in Japan. Some say the declining birthrate and aging population are responsible for an increase in government expenditures, including social security costs and medical costs, and are preventing the reduction of the government budget deficit.
During the high-growth period between the end of WWII and around 1990, Japan had a successful economic development model founded on a strong partnership between the government and the business sector. However, since the 1990s, the inefficiency of government agencies has grown and the development of the business sector has slowed. This situation has caused the current Japan’s budget deficit, most of which result from government bonds, to balloon to approximately 12.5 trillion US dollars. Against this background, the private nonprofit sector is increasingly looked to as an alternative to government providing for social welfare.
In Japanese society, personal financial assets (excluding real estate) reached 1,439 trillion Japanese Yen( 17.9 trillion US dollars), 60% of which is said to belong to people aged 60 or over.
Japan has the largest dormant bank account in the world, which is $800 million a year. Hopefully, it will start to be utilized for social good.
Although the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 was a tragic disaster that took many human lives, the unprecedented level of generosity shown by the Japanese society is one positive development. According to Giving Japan 2010, while about one out of three Japanese people makes a donation, 76% of people gave for disaster relief during that time . The total amount of donation exceeded 6 billion US dollars. When a large-scale earthquake occurred in Kobe, in 1995, and more than 6,000 people lost their lives, more than 1.3 million volunteers gathered in Kobe. The year came to be called the “first year of volunteering” in Japan. In fact, volunteering has spread even more widely since the earthquake in Kobe. The Great Eastern Japan Earthquake has already begun to be viewed as a turning point of donation in the history of Japan and 2011 named the “first year of donation” by the media. People start to be more interested in doing something good for the society.
There are several great resources regarding Japan’s Market
Giving Japan 2012
Social Impact Investment Landscape in Japan