Cabinet Office (Japan)

Cabinet Office (J)

When the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan is inviting…

... there is only one answer: Yes! And that’s why I spent two exciting and fascinating, but also challenging and demanding weeks in Japan. To what do I owe the honor of this visit? I was invited as one out of 4 participants from the Federal Republic of Germany taking an active role in the youth field including non-profit organizations. In total, 39 delegates for three courses (Social activities for Elderly People, for People with Disabilities, for Youth) and from three countries (Kingdom of Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) were invited to Japan to take part in the FY2012 Young Core Leaders of Civil Society Groups Development Program. This program has been conducted since FY2002 to foster young leaders who will be the center of civil society groups. It consists in a sending and an invitation program where participants of both programs partake in activities in visited countries and in Japan respectively - in my (youth) case, under the common theme “Nature of Development of Youth Workers”. 

From February 5 to February 19, 2013, as volunteer board member of a Youth league (Workers’ Welfare Organization), I came to Japan and worked with young leaders from all partaking countries to develop young “core” leaders of civil society groups in Japan and created a network between those of Japan and other participating countries.

The activities in Japan consisted of the following three pillars:

  • Opening and Closing Program in Tokyo, including one day Japanese cultural experience
  • 11th NPO Management Forum in Tokyo with Japanese participants and the Organizing Committee members
  • Local Program in Prefecture Shimane concerning the field of activities for Youth to learn insights into the youth situation in a local area (Topic “Development of youth workers”)

During the NPO Management Forum, we discussed about “Collaboration with community residents” and shared and exchanged examples from our countries and worked what is required to promote further collaboration within communities. We visited two institutions to learn actual situations of project management in Japan and I presented topics such as “Role of NPOs and its position in society”, “Successes and challenges of collaboration with community residents” and “Motivation and empowerment of volunteer citizens”. I also summarized required approaches of the chosen topic for further collaboration into a form of statement.

The Local Program in Shimane aimed to identify the problems to strengthen youth workers who lead and support young peoples’ development and to explore its concrete measures, by grasping the enlightenment of youth support and the current situation of partnership between the public and private sector in Shimane. In this context, we exchanged experiences and introduced topics such as “Cooperation among NPOs and the government”, “Development and retention of leaders/ youth workers” and “Expansion of youth workers activity fields”. We also had a courtesy call to the local government office, institutional visits and a homestay...

Sounds like a crammed and extensive program for two weeks? It was. It definitely was! But, back to Germany, I am still deeply grateful for the warm welcome and the cordial hospitality, the fruitful discussions and interesting exchanges of experience, the days full of learning – substantial, cultural and cross-border! I have drawn a lot of lessons - and a lot of new friends from Japan, Denmark, UK and Germany!

Arigatō, tak, thanks and danke schön,
Edeltraud Botzum