From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, there was a group of civic activity leaders who believed in the necessity of helping NPOs take root in Japan. As they researched NPO strongholds overseas and continued discussions with the involvement of corporate social contribution coordinators, they became convinced that “centers for the promotion of civic activity must be privately owned and independent from the government.”
Meanwhile, the Great Hanshin Earthquake, which occurred in January 1995, facilitated spontaneous social activities by citizens in what could be called the “first year of volunteers.” NPOs were recognized as a repository for the movement, and this accelerated the path toward the NPO Law.
Amid this background, the establishment of the Japan NPO Center was proposed in December 1995, and the next year, in November 1996, it began as private organization. In 1998, it incorporated as a specified nonprofit corporation (NPO).