Regional Update (Japan) (1996)


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This document has been made available in electronic format by 
the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
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December, 1996
(Source: Asia-Pacific Co-op News, Vol.3, No.1
Sept-Dec.,1996, p.13-15)


Regional Update
Japan
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Japanese  Workers Co-operative Union (JIGYODAN) moves to a 
New Building
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Mr. Hirsohi Kato, Chief of International Department, of
the Japanese Workers Co-operative Union informs that 
the office of JIGYODAN 
has been shifted to new premises. The new address is 
as following:

Japanese Workers Co-operative Union
Tokyo Rodokaikan
2-23-10 Minami Otsuka
Toshima-Ku
Tokyo 170, Japan
Tel : 81-3-5978-2190
Fax : 81-3-5978-2192

JCCU's 5 Year Plan Towards 2000
-------------------------------

At the 46th Annual Congress of the JCCU a Five Year Plan up
to 2000 has been approved by the members.  The Congress was 
attended by 888 delegates with a female presence of 22%.

The plan calls for co-ops to make drastic innovation to cope with 
the new socio economic environment characterised by the global 
market economy and the changing life styles and needs of 
consumers.  The basic goal of the plan is to establish co-ops 
which can contribute to the daily lives of the consumers through 
leadership in food distribution.  Targets for the year 2000 are: 
25 million members; Yen 5 trillion in sales, and a 10% market 
share in the food sector.  The strategies suggested are: 
consolidate business operations by opening larger retail 
outlets, strengthening their financial base, promoting  
regional and national collaboration, increase in the social 
roles of consumer co-ops so that they represent consumer 
viewpoints in traditionally industry central government
 policies.

-Co-op Japan Information

Co-op Kobe's Eco-friendly Uniforms
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Co-op Kobe has introduced apron and other types of uniforms 
from the textiles made out of recycled plastic bottles.  The 
nylon jackets too are recycled once they become unclean or 
woven out.  The collected jackets are reduced to thread and 
resin from which the cloth is made.

New President Elected
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JA ZENCHU had an extraordinary general meeting on 17th July and 
elected Mr. Mutsutami Harada as New President of JA ZENCHU who 
had/has been the President of Hiroshima Prefectural Union of 
Agricultural Co-operatives.

The New Vice Presidents are as follows:

Mr. Genzo Kato : President of Tokyo Metropolitan
                 Prefectural Union of Agricultural Co-operatives.

Mr. Masanao Chishiro: President of Shiga Prefectural Union of
                      Agricultural Co-operatives.

JA Agricultural Training Group to go to Indonesia
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In response to the request of the Japan International Co-
operation Association (JICA) members of the JA Research Group
visited Indonesia to offer support on Indonesia's Agricultural 
Training Programme.

The group plans to help establish a master plan with regard to 
subjects such as agricultural organisation, management, business 
activities (especially processing of agricultural products and 
its sales) in seven different provinces across Indonesia. The 
research group plans to do all these within their six months 
period of stay.

The group was joined by other members of International
organisation such as the International Co-operative Alliance
(ICA) expert members of the American overseas agricultural
support group and professors of Indonesia state university.

Asian countries and Eastern European Countries have a very high 
opinion about the Japanese Agricultural System thus there is an 
increasing demand for Japanese Agricultural Experts to come and 
train people from these countries.

Zenchu Elects New President
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At a special general meeting of the Central Union of Agricultural 
Co-operatives (ZENCHU) held in July Mutsutami Harada, 72, President 
of the Hiroshima Prefectural Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives 
was elected ZENCHU's new president.

The meeting also elected two vice presidents, Genzo Kato,
President of the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Union of Agricultural 
Co-operatives and Masanao  Chishiro President of the Shiga Prefectural 
Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives. Shokyoku, ZEN-CHU's executive director was appointed to the newly created post of  executive managing director.

President Harada served as Hiroshima prefectural assembly member for 
24 years from age 38 and is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party. 
After his election to the post of president of one of the eight 
agricultural co-operatives in Hiroshima City in 1982, he successfully, 
merged the co-operatives to create the largest agricultural 
co-operatives in Japan, which today embraces 80,000 members. 
A strong advocate of agricultural co-operative reforms, he 
had for some time been regarded as a strong candidate for 
ZEN-CHU president. At a press conference following his election, 
President Harada stated, "the current operating environment for 
agricultural co-operatives is the harshest ever,
and many issues must be addressed. I feel  a heavy
responsibility."

-Japan Agri-Info News, Sept. 96

Zenchu to Cut 50,000 Agricultural Co-operative Staff
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At its board of directors meeting in early July, ZEN-CHU approved a 
plan to cut agricultural co-operative staff by 50,000 from the 
current 350,000. This is in line with ZEN-CHU's rationalisation 
goal targeted at the year 2000.

Approximately 17,500 agricultural co-operative staff leave their 
jobs annually after reaching mandatory retirement age  or of their 
own accord. The approved plan will replace only
approx imately 40% of these retires with newly recruited staff and 
will implement job transfers, including the dispatch of personnel 
to affiliated agricultural co-operative bodies. The plan will also 
introduce a system  to urge early retirement at more beneficial 
terms with regular retirement conditions. ZEN-CHU aims to have 
the prefectural level staff reduction plans drawn up by the end 
of September.

To strengthen the managerial capability of agricultural co-
operatives, ZEN-CHU is promoting mergers between co-operatives, 
seeking to reduce the current 2,255 city-town-village level 
co-operatives nationwide to 550.  Plans are also under way to 
streamline the current three-level set up of co-operatives 
(the national federation, prefectural federations and 
city-town-village co-operatives) to two levels, by integrating 
the prefectural federations with the national federation. 

These endeavours aim to increase labour productivity by 30% 
(in terms of gross profit per employee) by the year 2000.
-Japan Agri-Info News, Sept. 96

Guide to Comfortable Rural Life Compiled
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To promote healthy rural lifestyles, the Regional Planning
Division of MAFF'S agricultural structure improvement bureau
recently compiled a guide to creation of comfortable rural life 
environment, designed to help rural citizens lead peaceful, 
comfortable lives. 

The guide, composed mainly of reportage and pictures taken in
selected rural areas, urges people to rediscover the assets of 
rural areas, such as abundant nature and a traditional dietary
 culture, while making a number of recommendations to achieve 
more comfortable and attractive rural lifestyles.

The guide comprises three main sections: (1) the significance of 
rural communities and amenities in rural areas, and the need to 
create a comfortable village (2) the factors in each category 
(nature production, dwelling, history and culture of rural areas) 
that increase comfort with numerous examples; and (3) ideas and 
ways to create a comfortable village, the concrete methods behind 
the activities of rural citizen, and ways to conserve and improve 
the rural landscape.

The guide also profiles people who are working hard to create
livable rural communities, and describes two rural areas which in 
spite of depopulation, are striving to achieve a happy combination 
of the village and its natural environment, as well as the village
 and urban areas.

The 74th International Co-operative Day Celebrated
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The 74th International Co-operative Day Commemorative Central
Meeting was held in July 5 in Tokyo, attended by some 100
representatives. Following the Commemorative events, two lectures 
were given. As a first speaker, Ms. Michiko Nakamura, Chairwoman 
of UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women) said "the 
women's rights is a basic human right" quoting the passage from 
the Beijing Declaration and added "The dove symbolic of world peace 
has two wings, the one for a woman and the other for a man. Well 
balanced participation in the co-operative movement will serve to
 promote world peace" Subsequently, Yukiko Adachi, Representative 
of the World Women Bank, introduced to the
audience several examples of women's contribution to society.

Mr. Kenichi Kasamatsu retires from JA Zenkyoren
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Mr. Kenichi Kasamatsu retires from the office of senior managing 
director of JA Zenkyoren at its annual representatives meeting held 
in July 19.

He had made a significant contribution to the development of the 
agricultural co-operative insurance business by serving as a member 
of the board of JA Zenkyoren for more than 16 years. He also has been 
very active in international activities as a vice chairman of ICMIF 
and Chairman of AOA. Mr. Koichiro Koeda, Managing Director of JA 
Zenkyoren succeeded Mr. Kasamatsu as scenario managing director.

Popularity of Individual Deliveries by Consumer Co-operatives
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After about half a decade of functioning the individual
deliveries to the households by consumer co-operatives has 
become very popular. This has compensated the slow down of 
joint buying activities by Han groups. With the growing mobility 
of co-operative members, the individual deliveries system has 
advantages against joint purchasing system which imposes 
limitations of time and division of responsibilities.

By and large, the individual deliveries system is operated
through a "mate system", the products bound for several members 
homes are delivered to a co-op. member who serves as a mate, the 
mate then separates each set of products and deliveries them to 
the home of each member. Co-op Kanagawa operatives such a 'joint system' 
in which one mate normally deliveries to an average of two groups 
(8-10 house hold) over 100 to 1000 meter area. The Co-op compensates 
the mate for the work.

One person in this is that a precondition for utilising this
service in a grown area is that a person willing to be mate must live 
in that are.

There are also some co-operatives which control outside agencies for 
individual delivery. Sometimes part-time employees are used.

However, there are precondition for successful operation of an 
individual delivery system"

-    the co-op must ensure the feasibility of the system
-    A product policy must be formally established
-    the recommitment of proper persons to be ensured.
     
By no means the individual delivery system would not replace the 
joint purchase system which has its own advantages. Rather they would co-exist.

-Co-op Japan Information, No. 26 Sept. 96