(due to technical difficulties, I’ve split up the sections…read Part One first :))
My afternoon visit was an impromptu one set up by a colleague that I met through the Young Leaders Series at CSIS – Pacific Forum. (He has been trying to get me to visit since I came back to Japan and with luck, it finally happened yesterday.)
JCIE is a non-profit, non-partisan, independent organization began in 1970 to strengthen Japan’s role in international affairs. Receiving no government subsidies, funding comes from private foundation grants, corporate contributions, and contracts.
JCIE’s recent programs are focused around: Global ThinkNet, a network-oriented policy research institution; the Political Exchange Program for Japanese young leaders and diet members; CIVILNET to promote a broader and deeper understanding of civil society in Japan and around the world, and various publications (one which I just read before arriving “Philanthropy and Reconciliation”) and lecture series.
The visit began with the President of the organization and all around nice guy. Our conversation was short, but he briefly introduced JCIE and touch on my interest (and JCIE’s) in Civil Society in Japan. He had once intended to become a Catholic priest – even attending a college in Green Bay, WI, where I once lived, but decided against it and joined the NGO sector instead. As head of JCIE, he has been following civil society in Japan for a long time – and is enmeshed in the difficult situation of being a tax exempt organization. We chatted briefly about the role of philanthropy and about a new jargon term “individual globalism” which is receiving some use on the academic scene.
Two points of interest:
1. JANIC – the NGO network that I visited last week, was started by one of the men who started JCIE and then left to start JANIC. Understanding these connections makes the context of civil society in Japan must more clear.
2. Robert Pekkanen – author of Japan’s Dual Society, who also works at U W use to be a intern at JCIE.
Undoubtedly, this impromptu visit to JCIE was well worth it – and coupled with the morning program at the FCCJ provided with plenty of energy.
As I mulled over the questions and answers last night – I started to wonder where all of this research might take me. And am ecstatic to have made these connections which I intend to pursue further.