Japan’s parliament approved a law as of November 2016 which allows dormant funds to be managed by a newly formed nonprofit group with a mission of supporting groups that address social problems. The funds will be held and utilized by this group under government monitoring until rightful owners of the assets come forward.
More than 80 billion yen ($700 million) in bank accounts becomes dormant each year in Japan. Up until now, bank accounts left dormant for ten years were being accepted by the banks as profit if the owner could not be found.
The new law could revitalize Japan’s relatively small nonprofit sector which has trouble raising funds in part because tax laws make it harder than in the U.S. to get deductions for charitable contributions. Using dormant funds to support nonprofits could be a chance for Japan’s donation culture to grow significantly!