11 Jun 2014
International Co-operative Alliance creates Contact & Study Group to delve into proposals to dismantle Japanese agricultural co-operative economy
Brussels, Friday 6 June - The Board of the International Co-operative Alliance announced today that it is establishing a Contact and Study Group to investigate the proposed dismantling of the Japanese agricultural co-operative sector of the economy.
The Alliance expressed alarm at the draft proposals under consideration by the Japanese government. It fears that the proposed legislation would inflict permanent damage on a co-operative system that has supported the Japanese economy since the middle of the last century.
In the middle of the United Nations International Year of Family Farming — and just following the United National International Year of Co-operatives in 2012 — the proposed legislation seems incongruous with the direction of global policy and priorities. In 2012, the United Nations urged countries to review their legislation to empower the growth of co-operatives. Instead, the Japanese government has signalled its intention to undermine the essential co-operative nature of the agricultural co-operative sector by changing its ownership structure and dismantling its national organisation.
The Japanese co-operative network has developed holistically over time to meet the diverse and emerging needs of the Japanese member-farmers and their families. The draft legislation would seize the assets of Japanese co-operatives, carefully preserved over decades, and give them to the private corporate sector.
The Directors of the Alliance, representing the United Kingdom, the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Canada, Germany, China, France, Korea, Singapore, Brazil, Spain, Kenya, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Australia, and Japan, were united in their deep concern over the fundamental lack of understanding of the co-operative difference that the proposed legislation represents. The Japanese co-operative movement features prominently in the World Co-operative Movement and is highly respected and studied by co-operatives across the globe.
The Contact and Study Group that the Alliance is sending to Japan will review the details of the proposals and evaluate their impact on the co-operative movement in Japan, and in particular on the ownership and participatory rights of its members.
Members of the Contact and Study Group will include Dame Pauline Green, President of the Alliance and former President of Co-operatives UK; Jean-Louis Bancel, President, Crédit Cooperatif (France); and Martin Lowery, International Representative, National Rural Electric Cooperatives of the United States.
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NOTES TO THE EDITOR
About the International Co-operative Alliance
The International Co-operative Alliance is a non-profit international association established in 1895 to advance the co-operative social enterprise model. The Alliance is the apex organisation for co-operatives worldwide, representing 268 co-operative federations and organisations across 93 countries (figures of May 2014). The Alliance’s members are national level co-operative federations and individual co-operative organisations.
The International Co-operative Alliance works with global and regional governments and organisations to create the legislative environments that allow co-operatives to form and grow. Towards media and public, the Alliance promotes the importance of co-operatives’ values-based business model.
Yearly, the Alliance publishes the World Co-operative Monitor, the index of the world's largest co-operative and mutual enterprises. The Monitor demonstrates the economic impact of co-operative enterprises worldwide. The 2013 Monitor revealed a total worth of USD $ 2 trillion for the world’s top 300 co-operative and mutual organisations, spread across 23 countries.
Operating from a global office in Brussels, Belgium, the Alliance is organised with eight Sectoral Organisations (Banking, Agriculture, Fisheries, Insurance, Health, Housing, Consumer Co-operatives, and Worker Co-operatives). The Alliance has four Regional Offices: Europe, Africa, Americas, and Asia-Pacific.
Further information about the Alliance’s Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade is available at www.ica.coop. Follow the Alliance on twitter at @icacoop. Like the Alliance's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/internationalcooperativealliance