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News & Events: 2013

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JWCU Welcomed YWCA of Korea
(December 12, 2013)
On December 12th 2013, a group of delegates from YWCA (Young Women Christian Association) of Korea visited Japan to learn about care services provided byJapanese worker cooperatives.

They visited two of our business sites: Ayumi Care Service (community welfare center which provides home care and day care services) and Ayumi House (small-scale multi-functional care facility).

Directors of Ayumi Care Service and Ayumi House gave an overview of each site and talked especially about the history and management.
The delegates were very interested in associated work, cooperative management, membership and working conditions of members etc. They were very impressed about members' passion and dedication for/to providing comprehensive support to service users.

JWCU would like to thank the delegates for visiting, and Ms. Kwak and Ms. Kim for coordinating the visit.

We hope that their visit was helpful for them to further develop care service sectors in South Korea.

JWCU Welcomed Korea Association of Self-Sufficiency Promotion Center
(November 21-23, 2013)
On November 21st-23rd 2013, twenty delegates from Korea Association of Self-Sufficiency Promotion Center visited JWCU to learn from our experiences as worker cooperatives and promote further cooperation.

On 21st, they visited JWCU headquarters to exchange experiences in Japan and South Korea. On 22nd and 23rd, they visited our business sites located in eastern Tokyo to learn about how associated work is practiced: Haketa Fureai Center (community center for intergenerational exchange), Iki Iki Plaza (senior center) and Toukatsu Hospital (where we provide cleaning services).
The delegates actively asked questions such as: how to put principles into practice and how to work with service users and communities. Because most of them are involved in cleaning businesses, they were also interested in our cleaning methods and utensils.

This was a wonderful opportunity for two organizations to build further relationships.

JWCU would like to thank the delegates for visiting, and Mr. Kwan for coordinating the visit. We look forward to working together more closely to promote worker coop movement in Asia region.

Coop Leaders from Tanzania and South Africa Visited JWCU
(September 4th, 2013)
On September 4th 2013, five cooperative leaders from Tanzania and South Africa visited JWCU as a part of the joint initiative by Japan Consumers' Cooperative Union (JCCU) and ILO Cooperative Facility for Africa Programme (Coop Africa) to assist the African cooperative movement in strengthening its capacity.

They firstly visited JWCU headquarters, and JWCU President, Yuzo NAGATO, welcomed the delegates. We explained about associated work, business activities, reconstruction efforts and legislative movement. They actively raised questions such as our organizational structure, ways of fund-raising and our way of working.
Then, they visited two of JWCU member organizations: "Cafe Mamenoki," which creates jobs for and with people with disabilities, and Smile Umegaoka, which provides care services for people with disabilities.

Through their visit, they were very impressed about members respecting potentials and independence of people with disabilities with passion.

JWCU would like to thank the delegates for visiting us, and JCCU and Coop Africa for arranging this program. We hope to learn from the African cooperative movement and see them in the ICA General Assembly in Cape Town this November.

JWCU 34th General Assembly Held in Miyagi
(June 14-15, 2013)
JWCU's 34th general assembly was held on June 14th and 15th in Miyagi Prefecture with the theme of "Empowering Society through Cooperation- Generating New Vitality in Communities and Building Momentum toward Social Change by Citizens through Cooperaion".

Holding our general assembly in Miyagi Prefecture, which was hit by the disaster and in which JWCU set up Tohoku Reconstruction Head Office four months later, was meaningful for us. The general assembly brought together about 600 members from nationwide. It was a great opportunity for our members to share two-year reconstruction efforts by Tohoku Reconstruction Head Office and practices through cooperation and solidarity by JWCU members nationwide.
We reaffirmed our determination to build the society where citizens themselves can create their own jobs and build their own communities in cooperation and solidarity with various actors.

JWCU was deeply honored to receive many messages from our global friends. Again, JWCU would like to thank all the organizations and people that sent us kind messages for our general assembly.

JWCU Welcomed 1318 Happy Zone
(February 28, 2013)
Since 2010, JWCU has been developing a partnership with 1318 Happy Zone, which provides youth support services in South Korea. On February 28th 2013, five representatives, who work for one of 1318 Happy Zone Support Centers, visited Tachibana Children's Hall, which is located in Tokyo and run by JWCU members, to learn from our experiences.

JWCU members explained about activities in Tachibana Children's Hall on the basis of three levels of cooperation, the situation of children in Japan and our efforts in Kagoshima (located in the south of Japan) to provide multiple services for children, people with disabilities and the elderly.
The delegates were impressed by our efforts to develop not only services for children, but also various services meeting communities' needs in cooperation with communities' residents.

After a short facility tour, delegates showed us pictures of their daily activities, from which we could learn many things as well, such as vocational trainings for youth through cooking or art programs.

We would like to thank the delegates for visiting us, and we look forward to learning more from each other and building much stronger relationships!

Worker Coops and Associated Work Drawing More Attention!
(February 7, 2013)
Since the release of our documentary film "Workers" at a theater in Tokyo, we have been drawing more and more attention from the media.

On February 7th 2013, JWCU was featured in a 30-minute TV program "Close-up Gendai" by NHK, a national broadcasting company. In the program, they introduced not only two of our sites in Saitama Prefecture (Fukaya Danran Group and Fujimino Community Welfare Center) to show what associated work is and how we create jobs based on communities' needs and revitalize communities, but also Mondragon in Spain to demonstrate that worker coop movement is a global phenomenon and explain the strength and advantage of "working together".

We would like to thank CECOP-CICOPA Europe for helping NHK obtain information on Mondragon and for letting them use parts of its documentary "Together" for the program.

Our documentary film has also been introduced by many national newspapers, magazines, websites and radio. Many of those who watched the movie left positive feedbacks. The movie has been so successful to attract many people that the scheduled screening period was extended!

We hope that this growing attention will bring us forward in the approval of worker coop law in Japan.

Local Government Officials from South Korea Visited JWCU
(January 18, 2013)
A group of local goverment officials from Gwanak (administrative subdivision of Seoul), South Korea, visited JWCU headquarters on Janurary 18th 2013 to learn how workers cooperatives create jobs, especially for youths and the elderly, and revitalize communities through associated work. Yuzo Nagato (President), Kisaburo Okayasu (Vice President) and Nobuhiro Furumura (Executive Director) welcomed the delegates.

After Furumura explained about JWCU history and businesses, delegates raised some questions about relationship between cooperatives and munisipalities and our legislative movement. Also, since unemployment of youths and the elderly has been a serious social issue in South Korea, they were very interested in concrete cases creating jobs for youths and the elderly.
We hope that their visit was useful to develop their community. .

JWCU would like to thank the delegates for visiting us, and Mr. Hyo-Woo Na from GOOD TRAVEL and Ms. Junko Kikkawa from the Hope Institute for coordinating the visit.

The new law on cooperatives went into effect in South Korea last December, and we also hope to learn from their experiences in South Korea to support the approval of worker coop law in Japan.

JWCU Produced Documentary Film "Workers"
(January 10, 2013)
We are very excited to announce that JWCU's documentary film "Workers" is now completed!

The documentary film shows four worker coops in downtown Tokyo, making us rethink about the meaning of "work" and "community."

The worker coops filmed include two child centers (Yahiro Hanamizuki Child Center and Tachibana Child Center) which cooperate with community residents to support children throughout the community, a senior center (Iki Iki Plaza) where not only worker coop members, but also service users play active roles in its operation and activities, and a community welfare cent