Recent Developments and Future Directions
Edited by Myles McGregor-Lowndes and Kerry O’Halloran
Chapter 5: Developing Issues in the Regulation of Public Benefit Organisations in Japan and China
Karla W. Simon1 INTRODUCTION Japan and China – two civil law2 countries – are in the process of developing new legal regimes for public benefit organisations, which are sometimes known as charities in the common law world. The designations of these new types of organisations vary in translation: ● ● In Japan they are called public benefit or public interest organisations; there is also a chapter on ‘charitable’ trusts in the Law on Trusts. In China the term ‘public welfare’ (gong yi) is generally used; there is a chapter on charitable trusts in the Law on Trusts; and work is being done to develop a ‘charity’ (cishan) law.3 What is meant in general is a subset4 of not-for-profit legal entities that meet the definition of public benefit used in Anglo-American law. In a civil law regime there are generally two legal forms of not-for-profit legal person – associations and foundations. Associations are groups of persons, while foundations have an endowment. Thus, for example, the German Civil Code provides for both registered and unregistered associations and for foundations. Foundations are, however, regulated under the laws of the German states (Länder).5 The similarities between the formal legal regime in China and that of Japan are worth emphasising to the extent of the structural elements of the Civil Codes adopted in Japan at the end of the 19th century and in Republican China at the beginning of the 20th century.6 Regarding juristic persons, both Civil Codes required that: 1. 2. 3. the permissible entities be organised...
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