Japanese cooperatives to launch new organization in April to tackle problems in rural communities

TOKYO, Feb. 28 – Japan’s cooperatives, including agricultural, fisheries and consumers coops, have announced that they will launch on April 1 a new organization Japan Co-operative Alliance (JCA) to step up cooperation in tackling issues related to rural communities.

JCA will be created based on the existing Japan Joint Committee of Co-operatives (JJC) consisting of 17 cooperatives associations such as the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (JA-ZENCHU) and Japanese Consumers’ Co-operative Union. It will work to raise awareness of cooperatives’ roles and values by supporting collaboration by cooperative associations nationwide and making policy proposals.

“By encouraging different cooperatives to reinforce coordination, we hope to contribute to creating better lives and jobs in sustainable communities,” said Toru Nakaya, JA-ZENCHU president who will lead the new organization. Nakaya stressed that JCA will also help meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations to guide the global community’s sustainable development priorities until 2030.

JCA will boost cooperation among cooperatives at the national and regional levels, make policy proposals and offer information to raise understanding of cooperatives and encourage participation in their activities. It will also conduct research on cooperatives and organize educational seminars for cooperatives’ members and executives, as well as maintaining liaison with the International Co-operative Alliance.

Members of JJC, which was established in 1956 as a voluntary association to support cooperation among cooperatives, have been discussing the launch of a new organization for one and a half years as a way to strengthen their joint efforts to address issues related to regional areas and enhance the value of cooperatives’ presence.

The new organization’s members include associations of the farm coops group, Japanese Consumers Co-operative Union, National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, National Federation of Forest Owners’ Co-operative Associations, Japan Workers’ Co-operative Union, National Federation of University Co-operative Associations and Japanese Health and Welfare Co-operative Federation.

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