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Japanese Democracy Assistance: Weak Involvement of Civil Society Actors Open Access

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Along with the rising importance of democracy assistance, Japan has expanded its foreign aid for it over the two decades. However, not only the share of democracy assistance in Japan's foreign aid overall remains extremely small, but most of Japan's democracy assistance is directed to the state institution sector, while assistance is barely provided to the civil society sector. This dissertation argues that the weak involvement of civil society actors in Japanese democracy assistance causes such characteristics through two intervening variables - information sources and aid human resources. First, weak civil society involvement as information source causes the Japanese government to collect information on aid needs almost exclusively from state actors of recipient countries, which leads Japan to successfully grasps assistance needs on the state level but not on the society level. Such skewness about information on aid needs causes Japan to provide democracy assistance to the state institution sector much more than to the civil society sector. Second, the weak involvement of civil society actors limits human resources mobilized for aid project implementation, which eventually limits the overall amount of Japanese democracy assistance. While democracy assistance in general tends to be provided as technical assistance, which requires a large number of human resources, the amount of human resources among Japanese state actors that can be mobilized for democracy assistance is extremely limited. It is thus potentially by the mobilization of civil society actors that Japan could increase the number of human resources in the field. However, civil society actors' involvement in Japanese democracy assistance is rare. The paucity of human resources as implementation partners of democracy assistance forces Japan to provide democracy assistance in a way need not to secure a large number of implementation partners. This tendency limits the size of each democracy assistance program/project, and makes it difficult for Japan to increase the number of programs/projects.

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