A draft Worker Cooperatives Act submitted to Japan’s House of Representatives on 12 June would offer a specific legal form for worker co-operatives in the country. Existing legislation provides no legal entity for worker co-operatives. This means businesses cannot register as worker co-operatives, even when they operate in accordance with co-operative values and principles.
Until now, worker co-operatives have had to register either as non-profit organisations or small and medium enterprises. Apex bodies Japan Cooperative Alliance (JCA) and Japan Workers’ Cooperative Union (JWCU) have long been campaigning for legislative changes to enable the sector to grow. They argue worker co-operatives can help to provide much needed social services and drive sustainable development.