Category Archives: Cooperatives

【News】JA group presses for keeping farm tariffs amid JP-EU talks(June 15, 2017)

Japan’s most powerful farm group is redoubling efforts to lobby the government as well as the governing Liberal Democratic Party to carve out certain sensitive products from market access commitments. The move comes as Japanese and European leaders are seeking to push through a free trade deal in Brussels early next month. The Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, known as Zenchu, is insisting that any deal between Japan and the EU must maintain tariffs and border measures for agricultural products that are import-sensitive, such as pork and dairy. At the same time, Zenchu is urging the government to inform of any developments in the ongoing negotiations. It says a lack … Continue reading

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【Opinion】Let the rainbow of cooperatives shine (June 5, 2017)

[By Taichi Kitagawa, Professor of Fukui Prefectural University] “No rain, no rainbows.” This is a Hawaiian saying which is used to describe bad times mean good times are coming. Japan’s agricultural cooperatives (JAs) have been hit by torrential rain in recent years. The government’s intervention in farm coops’ reform efforts goes against the cooperative principles of autonomy and independence which was adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance at its 31st general assembly in 1995. Under the name of growth strategy, the government is trying to forcibly turn JAs into mere entities specializing in agricultural business. Such government control aimed at taking away comprehensiveness and diversity from JAs is a challenge … Continue reading

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【News】Five national organizations of primary and commerce industries unite with agreement on regional revitalization (May 20, 2017)

JA ZENCHU (Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives), an apex organization of agricultural cooperatives (JAs) in Japan, and other four national organizations representing interests of forestry, fishery, commerce and local industries made an agreement on May 19 to further promote regional revitalization in the country. These five national organizations wish to maintain and develop the economy of rural areas by promoting local industries and tourism through collaboration among different industries for initiating new business activities such as so-called “AFFrinnovation” or sixth industrialization of agriculture and other primary industries. After a signing ceremony of the agreement, Choe Okuno, JA ZENCHU’s president emphasized the importance of its implementation, saying “Various industries supporting regional … Continue reading

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【News】Agricultural cooperatives to help producers’ groups get “Good Agricultural Practice” certified in every prefecture (May 17, 2017)

JA ZENCHU (Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives), an apex organization of agricultural cooperatives (JAs) in Japan, has decided on a policy of promoting obtains of “Good Agricultural Practice (GAP)” certifications by commodity-wise producers’ groups organized at JAs throughout the country. JA ZENCHU, expecting domestic users will increasingly apply GAP to their business requirements, plans to consolidate a support system of a JA group, a nationwide business and organizational network of agricultural cooperatives (JAs), with which system the JA group will aid producers’ organizations in introducing GAP standards as well as getting GAP certified. Under the JA ZENCHU’s program, every JAs’ organization at prefectural level allocates staff members to special positions … Continue reading

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【News】Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Support Act enacted in Japan (May 13, 2017)

A bill for Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Support Act was passed in a plenary session of the House of Councilors on May 12 by a majority vote, mostly led by members of ruling parties. Shinzo Abe’s administration has been advocating an enactment of the bill as a centerpiece of agricultural reform-related bills, which aims at proceeding realignment of the agricultural industry so as to promote price reduction of farm inputs as well as streamline distribution of agricultural products. Yuji Yamamoto, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries told the press after the Cabinet meeting on the same day that his Ministry will make efforts to draft ministerial ordinances for the Act as … Continue reading

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