While the concept of “Asia Pacific community building” has received much attention in recent years, doubts have emerged that Asia Pacific countries have enough in common to be able to create a true community sense. At first glance, economic interdependence seems to be the only trait holding the countries together. Vast differences in religion, language, history, ethnicity, and ideology in the region threaten to halt community-building efforts. Governments and private companies are not capable of working through these differences on their own. The efforts of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)—including research institutions and foundations—are indispensable to the building of a community sense in a region that spans such a large geographic area as the Asia Pacific region.
This publication comprises the report of a conference held in Osaka December 11–13, 1994, on the theme “nongovernmental underpinnings of the emerging Asia Pacific regional community,” and the integrative report of the country papers covering NGOs, research institutions, and foundations and their prospects for cooperation in 15 Asia Pacific countries. The papers give a brief analysis of the recent growth of civil society in each country, trends in collaborative work across sectors and national boundaries, and opportunities for further cooperation in the building of an Asia Pacific community.