With just 12% of NASA´s budget (according to www.euroconsult-ec.com), Japan maintained (for decades) two separate civilian space programs (each with its own competing line of rockets).  It also separately maintained a national aerospace laboratory.    Quite possibly as a result of the competition, Japan has been achieving more with less:  1)  developing two competing families of rockets - as well as working on re-entry vehicles; 2) building a lunar rover; 3) maintaining an $86 million dollar interplanetary probe mission (multiples cheaper than NASA's) which is currently orbiting the solar system; 4) creating a bunch of new satellites; and 5) building the ISS´s JEM module "Kibo" (which informed Europeans say is a  much better, more capable design than Columbus, though no more expensive).

Japanese Space Agency #1 (NASDA)
(The National Space Development Agency of Japan
was part of Japan´s former Science & Technology Ministry.)

Japanese Space Agency #2 (ISAS)
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
(ISAS operated on just 1/10th of NASDA´s budget,
and was part of Japan´s former Ministry of Education.) 

National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan

       Bureaucratic streamlining has been taking place, however, in the country with the world's 2nd largest economy but also with a national debt of at least $5.3 trillion, or 130% of its gross domestic product.   That percentage makes Japan the worst industrialized debtor nation (even though the USA's record high national debt is considerably larger).   Japan´s recent merger of these space programs' parental government ministries (Education; and Science & Technology), along with Japan´s ailing economy have thus prompted consolidation.  The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency ( JAXA) will serve as the umbrella organization for merging the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL), and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA).    
       China's up & coming space program is a somewhat different story, though...

Is it wi$e to maintain NASA´s official monopoly?