International Cooperative Day is an annual celebration of the cooperative movement observed on the first Saturday in July, with the goal of promoting peace and a better world.
This year the day was celebrated on July 6, 2013, with the theme “Cooperative enterprise remains strong in times of crisis”. To celebrate this international event, the Japan Joint Committee of Co-operatives (JJC) and Co-operatives Japan (the national cooperatives alliance which replaces the Japan National Planning Committee for IYC 2012) organized a forum at the Nikkei Conference Room in Tokyo on 26 July on the theme of “Reconstruction efforts by Japanese cooperatives after the Great East Japan Earthquake”, which attracted approximately 250 attendees from cooperative organizations and the press.
At the 91st event, Mr Akira Banzai, President of Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives (JA ZENCHU), Chairman of the JJC and Representative of Co-operatives Japan, made his opening remarks followed by a message from Dame Pauline Green, President of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA). Then, Mr Ryota Koyama, an associate professor from Fukushima University, gave a keynote speech. At the next session, four organizations presented their activities in Fukushima and Mr Koyama also acted as a facilitator at the following panel discussion.
Finally, it was formally agreed that collaboration be set in place among Japanese cooperatives, with the aim of discussing and implementing concrete measures for reconstruction, taking this annual event as a starting point.
This forum gave Japanese cooperators an opportunity to recognize the importance of social responsibility of cooperatives and a need to further strengthen cooperation among cooperatives in Japan.
Article contributed by Daisuke Yokomizo of Japanese ICMIF member organization, Zenrosai.