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News & Events: 2008

National Gathering of Co-operation 2008 Brought Hundreds Together to Create a New Society through Associated Work
(November 25, 2008)
The National Gathering of Co-operation was held in Niigata City on November 22nd and 23rd.

The first day was the plenary session, bringing 800 people together. Following Mr. Masaaki Ohe's keynote speech "Local power through foods, agriculture and community development," 2 panel discussions ( "Creating work with hope" and "Regenerating communities and bonds for harmonious coexistence") were held.
The second day, bringing 900 participants, consisted of 14 sessions on various issues, including environment, child care, community development, aged society, job creation for people with disabilities and fighting poverty.

In all the sessions, participants had active discussions and shared their experiences, feeling hopes for the future.


Reunion with Bigay Buhay Multipurpose Cooperative (Philippines) Chair in Tokyo
(October 21, 2008)
Our long-time partner, Mr. Richard Arceno, the chair of Bigay Buhay Multipurpose Cooperative (BBMC) and the national coordinator of The Philippine Council of Cheshire Homes for the Disabled (PhilCOCHED) visited Japan and had a reunion with JWCU members.

We exchanged our experiences in the last few years and learned from each other, particularly the efforts in promoting inclusion and independence of persons with disabilities in the society.
We have all agreed that persons with disabilities should be able to become more active players in the co-operative movement and that our partnership can be further strengthened for the future.

JWCU would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Arceno for the precious time and wishes the best for their efforts!


National Gathering of Co-operation 2008 to be Held in November
(September 8, 2008)
The 13th National Gathering of Co-operation will be held in Niigata City on November 22nd and 23rd.

The Gathering is organized by various co-operatives, including JWCU, and NGOs with supports from municipalities.

Niigata 2008 image
The main theme of this year's Gathering is "Creating the Hopeful Future of Community and Work through Co-operation and Solidarity." While anxieties about the future (e.g., poverty and inflation) are spread throughout Japan, we are also beginning to see the movement of "New Public,"in which citizens are actively involved in developing services that benefit their communities.

This Gathering will be the place to exchange these experiences, to learn from each other and to take further steps to make this movement even stronger.

For more information on the Gathering, please see http://kyodo-net.roukyou.gr.jp/2008/index.htm (sorry, Japanese only).


JWCU Hosted a Delegation from Co-operative College of Malaysia
(July 30, 2008)
JWCU hosted 2 guests from Co-operative College of Malaysia from July 15th to 29th.

Their visit was packed with activities, including the orientation when we exchanged experiences in each country, site visits to our various businesses (e.g., care and community centers, building and park maintenance, etc.) in Tokyo and Kansai as well as the wrap-up/farewell party.

JWCU wishes the best for the further development of co-operative movement, particularly the launch of worker cooperatives, in Malaysia and our stronger partnership!


79th May Day Rally: No More Poverty, No More Inequality
(May 1, 2008)
More than 40,000 people, including 17 JWCU members, attended the 79th May Day rally in Tokyo.

This year's May Day themes were: "Stop poverty and inequality," "Stop constitutional changes," and "Toward citizen-centered policies."

Since the structural reform for smaller government and deregulation, workers have been treated with less and less respect. Dozens of presenters at the rally called for a decent work and appropriate support for workers.

May day 2008 picture

National Meeting for Law on Associated Workers' Cooperatives:
Over 1,200 Participants Were Grateful for ICA President's Message

(April 26,2008)
As the final step to pass the legislation on associated workers' cooperatives, JWCU held a national meeting on April 26th in Yokohama.

More than 1,200 people from all over the country; including over 30 politicians at municipal, prefectural, and national levels; have joined together at the meeting, reaffirming the importance of this legislation and discussing the future direction.
Apr.26 2008 picture
Mr. Ivano Barberini, ICA President, has kindly sent his encouraging message for this meeting, and everyone was grateful and honored to hear his message. We have also received over 60 messages, including Diet members, governors, and mayors, to show their supports for this important legislation.

The meeting was filled with lively discussion and valuable information, including the relay talk by 12 people in various fields; panel discussion by representatives from public, NPO and worker co-op sectors; and speeches by politicians at local and national levels.


Say "No" to the New Health Insurance for the Elderly!
JWCU Members Joined the Sit-in Protest

(April 23, 2008)
A new health insurance system that covers people aged 75 and over began on April 1, 2008. This system has been criticized for a number of reasons, including more financial burdens on a number of older adults and insufficient information given to beneficiaries.

On April 22nd and 23rd, 2008 ,hundreds of older adults and members of civic groups joined the sit-in against the system in front of National Diet Building. More than 30 JWCU members also joined the sit-in on April 23rd.

sit-in picture
Participants took turn and made speeches, such as "I want them to understand what it's like to have both health and long-term care insurance premiums taken automatically from my limited pension." Diet members from opposition parties also came and cheered for the protest.


Non-Partisan, All-Party Parliamentary Group Is Founded
To Promote Associated Workers' Cooperative Legislation
(February 20, 2008)
An opening ceremony for the non-partisan, all-party parliamentary group was held on February 20, 2008, in Tokyo.

This group is formed to promote the associated workers' cooperative legislation. The group has more than 70 members, and the number keeps growing.

At the ceremony, the group chairperson Mr. Chikara Sakaguchi (former Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare) stated,
parliamentary group picture
"I was asked about associated work when I was a minister. I though it's a wonderful idea and we should promote it in Japan. There are many people who are already involved in associated work, but there is no law to rationalize and support them. We hope to have the legislation approved in this parliamentary session."

This is a milestone for our legislative efforts.
This parliamentary session will end on June 15th, and we hope to bring the good news by then!
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