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96th International Day of Co-operatives Forum Held in Tokyo

The International Day of Co-operatives is the day for cooperators around the world to unite to celebrate the development of the co-operative movement and pledge to promote the movement for peace and better livelihoods, and it is celebrated annually on the first Saturday of July (July 7 in 2018). Japan Co-operative Alliance (JCA) and Cooperatives Japan jointly held the 96th International Day of Co-operatives Forum under the theme of this year’s global slogan “Sustainable Societies through Cooperation” on July 10, 2018 at Yurakucho Asahi Hall in Tokyo to celebrate the day. Approximately 450 people including officials from its member organizations, cooperators across Japan and media representatives participated.

The forum started with the opening address by Mr. Toru Nakaya, President of JCA and Representative of Cooperatives Japan (President of Central Union of Agricultural Co-operative (JA ZENCHU)), followed by the address by Mr. Rikio Kozu, President of National Council of Workers’ Welfare (President of Japanese Trade Union Confederation (RENGO)), and the video message by Mr. Ariel Guarco, President of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA).

Two panel discussions were followed afterwards. The first panel discussion was held on the theme “Missions of JCA for Building Sustainable Societies” with Ms. Natsuko Tanaka, President of the Japanese Society for Co-operative Studies, as a coordinator, and JCA board members from its member organizations (JA ZENCHU, Japanese Consumers’ Co-operative Union (JCCU), National Association of Labour Banks, Japan Workers’ Co-operative Union (JWCU)) as panelists. Panelists raised various points including the background of the establishment of JCA. The discussion reconfirmed the aim to realize sustainable societies by strengthening cooperation among co-operatives under the leadership of JCA.

Following the first panel discussion, the second one titled “Sustainable Societies by Cooperation among Cooperatives” was held to introduce advanced joint projects by cooperation among co-operatives with Ms. Tanaka as a coordinator and Ms. Kaori Kuroda, President of Japan Civil Society Network on SDGs, as a commentator. Mr. Hiroshi Shimoonoda, President of JA Kagoshima Kimotsuki, presented joint efforts to revitalize local industries by cooperation among agricultural, fishery and forestry co-operatives. Mr. Nobuo Nagata, Managing Director of Saitama Council of Workers’ Welfare, and Mr. Hiroyasu Iwaoka, President of Saitama Consumer Co-operative Union, introduced a food bank project to contribute to communities by cooperation among co-operatives in Saitama prefecture. Mr. Tetsu Takemori, Director of Chugoku-Shikoku Head Office of CENTER Jigyodan, shared the "Associated Work Platform" project in Hiroshima City through which workers’ and consumers’ co-operatives, labour banks, trade unions and others cooperate to support citizens who strive to solve local issues by creating their own jobs. Considering the significance of each case from the perspectives of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) demonstrated that co-operatives could contribute to achieving SDGs and play important roles in creating sustainable communities.

Participants shared the importance to enhance cooperation among co-operatives for sustainable societies and the important missions of JCA to promote cooperation through this forum. The forum was concluded with the closing address by Mr. Eiichi Honda, Vice President of JCA and Vice Representative of Cooperatives Japan (President of JCCU).

The First Panel Discussion

The Second Panel Discussion
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