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International Activities

As stated in our principles, JWCU is committed to promote solidarity and integration of the international community.

The following is a brief summary of our international activities.

As a Member of International Organizations

Our membership to International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) was approved at ICA Tokyo General Assembly in 1992. Since then, JWCU has been its active member and sent delegates to every ICA general assembly at global and regional levels.

JWCU has also been an active player at International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers' Co-operatives (CICOPA), the sectoral organization of ICA.
We are grateful for the support from a number of international organizations. Their encouraging messages, valuable information on legislation and other critical issues regardingr worker cooperatives as well as international collaboration have been the great forces for us to move forward.
International Exchange
JWCU also realizes the importance of collaboration with organizations in various countries.

Our activities in internaitonal exchanges include:

Welcoming global friends: JWCU has welcomed guests from South Korea, China, Malaysia, USA, UK and many other countries, exchanging our experiences and ideas on various issues, including: worker cooperatives, social economy, youth support, active lifestyle in old age, long-term care and disaster reconstruction.
Visiting global friends: Our delegates have visited various countries, including Italy, Spain, Sweden, UK, South Korea and USA, to learn about and exchange our experiences as worker cooperatives as well as to discuss a wide range of issues, such as agriculture, environment and long-term care. We truly appreciate their warm hospitality.

Information exchange: Thanks to the fellow cooperators across the globe and information technology, JWCU can also communicate with them electronically, not only to learn about what is going on in other countries (particularly on legislation and innovative practice) but also to disseminate information on our activities (e.g. reconstruction after the earthquake, legislative movement, success stories, unique initiatives).

Organizing International Meetings/Symposia
JWCU has also organized international meetings and symposia on legislation (1999 & 2006), senior citizens (1999) and decent work (2004). At our biennial National Gathering of Cooperation in 2012, which brought the total of nearly 3,000 people together in 2 days, we also invited distinguished international guests to discuss the significant roles of cooperatives from the international perspective.

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International Solidarity
JWCU is committed to support fellow cooperators around the world, particularly in time of crisis.

Our fundraising efforts for emergency relief and reconstruction assistance include: Indian Ocean tsunami (2004), earthquake in Java (2006), Haiti (2010) and Turkey (2011); and floods in Thailand (2011) and Philippines (2012).

JWCU would also like to thank all the people and organizations throughout the world who have sent us kind messages and donations in the wake of Great East Japan Earthquake (March 11, 2011). They have given us the light of hope in the darkness, and we are where we are thanks to them.

International Year of Cooperatives and Beyond
The United Nations has declared 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC), highlighting the contribution of
cooperatives to socio-economic development. With the theme of "Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World," IYC sought to increase awareness about cooperatives, to promote growth of cooperatives and to establish appropriate policies to support cooperatives.

JWCU also took this opportunity to celebrate IYC and to promote cooperatives through a wide range of activities, including:
Joining Japan National Planning Committee for IYC 2012;
Enhancing advocacy efforts for Law on Associated Workers' Co-operatives; and
Organizing promotional events such as JWCU IYC Launch "Asking for an Immediate Approval of the Law on Associated Workers' Cooperatives" (January 26, 2012) and the 15th National Gathering of Cooperation 2012 "Creating Communities to Revitalize Humanity" (November 17-18, 2012).

While 2012 was one of the greatest years for the cooperative movement, it was just a starting point for the cooperative development in a real sense. In Japan, a new national cooperative alliance, Cooperatives Japan, was formed by 24 national cooperative organizations in May 2013, replacing the Japan National Planning Committee for IYC 2012, to commemorate the spirits of the IYC and to continue pursuing the goals set by the National Planning Committee for IYC 2012: to increase awareness about cooperatives and to promote growth of cooperatives. JWCU is an active member of Cooperatives Japan and engaged in various activities such as organizing workshops and creating Cooperatives Japan's web site content.
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