Public Lecture - Non-Governmental Politics: Why and how do Japanese NGOs engage in/on North Korea?

When North Korea faced a serious food shortage in the mid 1990s, the international community launched a humanitarian assistance campaign to help the struggling country. The government of Japan and a few Japanese NGOs were part of this effort.  However, due to a number of difficulties associated with working in and on North Korea many NGOs extricated themselves from North Korea and ended their projects. Conversely, some NGOs continue to work on North Korea but have changed their approach.
     In the case of Japan, since 2002, Japanese humanitarian NGOs have experienced various challenges to their work in/on the DPRK. The Japanese government has turned towards a hardline position, putting political and economic pressure on North Korea to resolve the Japanese abduction issue. As such, several human rights NGOs have found themselves and their work unwelcome in the changing Japanese political landscape. Under these circumstances, how do Japanese humanitarian NGOs manage their missions?
     This talk will try to examine the structure and mechanism of humanitarian assistance by looking at the case of Japanese NGOs. Why did they decide to engage in/on North Korea in the mid 1990s? And how did they mobilize resources and overcome obstacles?  Also, how do they form transnational grassroots networks to obtain legitimacy and mobilize resources? Throughout the talk, the speaker will touch upon the following issues: the motives of engagement; the life span of emergencies; transparency and accountability; the presence of Japanese NGOs; North Korean defectors.

Image by David Stanley on Flickr under the CC BY 2.0.



Updated:  27 November 2018/Responsible Officer:  JI Management Group/Page Contact:  Japan Institute