Category Archives: Cooperatives

JA Zenchu appoints Nakaya as chairman; Reform to continue

TOKYO, July 6 — Japan’s Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, known as JA Zenchu, has appointed Toru Nakaya, 67, as the next chairman, at a time when the country’s most powerful farm group is undergoing drastic reforms. Zenchu has been a prime target of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s structural changes to prop up a fragile economy. In his election, Nakaya won widespread support – 152 out of 240 valid votes from Zenchu representatives across the country – while his sole contender in the race, Masatoshi Sudo, 69, received 88 votes. This is Nakaya’s second challenge for Zenchu’s top post after the 2015 election. Nakaya is currently the chairman of JA … Continue reading

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JA group rallies for keeping farm tariffs at Japan-EU trade talks

TOKYO, June 28 – Japan’s most powerful farm group has gathered in Tokyo for an emergency rally, as Japanese and European chief negotiators are trying to clinch a free trade agreement, which will be the biggest trade deal for the EU. The Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, known as Zenchu, made a renewed call June 27 to stress that any Japan-EU deal must maintain tariffs and border measures for sensitive agricultural products, such as pork and dairy. At the rally, Zenchu Chairman Choe Okuno stressed, “I’m tired of seeing access to our agriculture market as a bargaining chip to sell more Japanese manufacturing goods to overseas. It must be stopped … Continue reading

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【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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