JWCU logoJapan Workers' Co-operative Union 本文へジャンプ
About Us: JWCU History

JWCU has nearly 40 years of history. The following table summarizes how we have come to where we are.
history image

1971-1985: Job creation for, of, by the unemployed, middle-aged and elderly
1971 The forerunner of JWCU, the "Jigyodan (business group)" was first established in Nishinomiya City (in the western part of Japan) to create jobs for the unemployed, middle aged and elderly mainly through projects comissioned by municipal governments. Throughout the 1970s, local Jigyodans flourished.
1979 Local Jigyodans formed the National Council.
1982 Upon termination of the public day-worker aid, the National Council launched "direct-control businesses" in hospital maintenance. These businesses developed nationwide rapidly.
1983 The National Council members visited Italy to learn about Italian worker cooperatives, which have over 100 years of history, and started discussions on reorganization.
1986-1991: Starting a journey as "Worker Cooperatives"
1986 Jigyodans decided to transform themselves into organizations managed by worker-members (i.e., worker cooperatives), in parallel with developing the National Council into the National Federation.
1987 "CENTER Jigyodan" was set up as a model case of worker cooperatives.
1991 Japan Institute of Cooperative Research (JICR) was established.
1992-1998: Development of worker cooperatives and establishment of older persons' cooperatives
1992 The National Federation's membership to ICA was approved at the ICA Tokyo General Assembly, and the National Federation adopted its own seven principles.
1993 The National Federation was renamed Japan Workers' Co-operative Union (JWCU).
1995 JWCU established the first older persons' cooperative: a cooperative of, by and for senior citizens and beyond. This movement has spread throughout the country since then.
1998 JWCU established a head office to lobby for the law on associated workers' co-operatives.
1999-2006: Creation of community welfare centers and a new welfare society
1999 Preceding a launch od the Long-term Care Insurance System (April 2000), JWCU membes started to provide training courses for care workers to obtain the home-helper certificates throughout the country.
2000 Worker Cooperative Legislation Civic Council was founded.
2001 Japan Older Persons' Cooperative Union (JOCU) was set up to unite the efforts among older persons' cooperatives.
2002 JWCU adopted new principles of an "Associated Worker Cooperative."
2004 JWCU celebrated its 25th anniversary and held an international symposium at United Nations University in Tokyo, with ILO's special cooperation.
2006 Cuban ambassador and Mongolia's First Lady visited JWCU and its members.
2007-present: Realizing the Law on Associated Workers' Co-operatives and overcoming disasters
2007- More than 10,000 groups and organizations throughout the nation signed the letters to support the Law on Associated Workers' Co-operatives. As of July 2013, over 800 municipality assemblies (out of nearly 1,800 nationwide) have also sent the Diet letters recommending the immediate approval of the law.
2008- A non-partisan, all-party parliamentary group was founded to promote the legislation. As of July 2013, the group has over 100 members.
2011 In the wake of Great East Japan Earthquake, JWCU established Tohoku Reconstruction Head Office in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture.
2012 JWCU co-hosted National Gathering of Cooperation, which brought nearly 3,000 people together and invited distinguished international guests to discuss the significant roles of cooperatives in our society.
The concept of Associated Work was promoted through movie, TV program and book.
JWCU actively participated in the national inter-cooperative initiatives to promote the International Year of Cooperatives.
2013 JWCU General Assembly was held in Senday City (the disaster-hit area) with focuses on disaster reconstruction and rebuilding communities.

    Copyright (c) 2008 Japan Workers' Co-operative Union. All rights reserved.