What's an NPO?
In Japan an NPO is a type of charitable organisation.
In Japan, there is an array of types of charitable and non-profit organisations and the English word "charity" does not map easily onto any one of them.

Formally speaking, Companion Animal Trust Nippon - CATNIP - is a "Specified Non-profit Corporation".

For all practical purposes, an NPO is sufficiently regulated that it can ask for donations in good conscience, but not so tied down in red-tape - and whisper it quietly - red-tape in Japan is not in short supply - as to stop it from doing useful stuff.

It is regulated - but not funded - by the prefecture and governed by a Board who elect a Director.

It has has fairly onerous administrative and reporting requirement.

Most animal welfare organisations in Japan are NPO's.

We publish our accounts annually and are committed to full financial openness.

For more information about the various types of charitable entity in Japan, see here .

Nick May adds:

Please bear in mind that a more accurate description of CATNIP is that in our primary work we are a "Guaranteed To Make a Loss" organisation - we have a rehoming fee of 20,000yen, but each animal in need that we help is likely to cost at least 35,000yen -in total, and possibly a great deal more, if it is sick, injured or traumatised when it comes to us.

Donations, supporters and any income we can glean by other means cover the shortfall.

So "charity" is a reasonable description.