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Journal cover: Social Enterprise Journal

Social Enterprise Journal

ISSN: 1750-8614

Online from: 2005

Subject Area: Enterprise and Innovation

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Japanese social enterprises: major contemporary issues and key challenges

Document Information:
Title:Japanese social enterprises: major contemporary issues and key challenges
Author(s):Rosario Laratta, (Graduate School of Governance Studies, Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan), Sachiko Nakagawa, (Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University, Kanagawa, Japan), Masanari Sakurai, (Faculty of Policy Science, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan)
Citation:Rosario Laratta, Sachiko Nakagawa, Masanari Sakurai, (2011) "Japanese social enterprises: major contemporary issues and key challenges", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 7 Iss: 1, pp.50 - 68
Keywords:Japan, Social enterprises
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/17508611111130158 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the emergence of social enterprise in Japan by looking at the predominant types of social enterprise in the country, their industries and target groups, their challenges and strength.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper adopts an analytical approach, building on previous work; it is grounded on the social construction theory, which has the advantage of apprehending social phenomena from different viewpoints.

Findings – The study identifies three different conceptual approaches to explain the emergence of social enterprise in Japan. It then demonstrates that there exists a link between the approaches identified and the emerging social enterprise types in the country. Furthermore, it discusses the strategies used by those emerging social enterprise types in choosing their particular legal forms (in the absence of a specific legal form for social enterprise in Japan) and shows how this choice is normally determined by the constraints associated with those organisational forms. From this perspective, the paper outlines the major contemporary issues affecting social enterprises in Japan and focuses on two key challenges: the systems of regulation and the financial viability. In discussing the financial challenge it presents the dual attitude of the Japanese government towards the development of the social enterprise sector.

Originality/value – This paper builds up the theoretical foundations for the understanding of the social enterprise sector in Japan and it will stimulate further researches on the future development of the sector.

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