Japan’s cooperative sector has serious potential. Not only is it home to the world’s largest consumer coop, the Japan Consumers’ Cooperative Union, but the largest agricultural coop in the world (Japan Agriculture) and the world’s fifth largest insurance coop (Zenkyoren) are also proudly Japanese. However, Japan still has relatively few worker cooperatives. This is because there is no legal framework for the creation of worker coops in the country. Could the submission of a new proposed law to parliament later this year change that? The Japan Workers’ Cooperative Union (JWCU) certainly hopes so.
“For almost 20 years, we have developed our legalisation campaign,” says Osamu Nakano, international relations officer for the JWCU. “There are 1800 local governments in Japan; nearly 1000 [of them] have already submitted petitions for the enactment of a worker coop law to the central government.” After years of building momentum and broad support, the JWCU believes that 2018 will be the year that Japan realises the full potential of worker cooperatives and increases workers’ economic power.
Go to the GEO front page