Québec City, Thursday, 9 October, 2014 – The Board of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) gathered in Québec, Canada for the International Summit of Cooperatives, has listened to and unanimously approved a report presented by the Alliance’s Contact and Study Group formed to understand the intended restructuring of the Japanese agriculture co-operatives launched by the Japanese government.
The Alliance board expressed its major concern about the intended legislation to dismantle the unity of the Japanese agriculture co-operative movement which would diminish the services offered to the farmers and the rural areas and ultimately might be counterproductive to the national economy. In particular; the intention to transform some of the co-operative structures into stock companies through demutualization is an unsound process.
As a trustee of the International Co-operative Principles, recognized by the United Nations, the Alliance board believes that the contemplated legislative changes, as currently envisioned, would obviously violate certain Co-operative Principles. Firstly the autonomy and independence of the co-operatives from any form of outside powers. Secondly the Democracy Principle which means that co-operators have to decide by themselves the best way of organizing and developing their activities. Lastly the concern for the community which is an important Co-operative Principle through which co-operatives can engage in general interest activities, which outside of Japan public authorities consider very positively.
The International Co-operative Alliance will support its Japanese members in their interactions with their national officials and international institutions to make sure that any agreed legal changes will take into account the ability of structures to adapt any necessary change useful for the co-operators.
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