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Online Roundtable on Worker Cooperative Legislation

Experiences from Japan


3rd March 2021 | Wednesday

11:30 – 12:30 Indian Standard Time (GMT + 5:30)




The Japanese cooperative movement celebrated a historic win with the unanimous adoption of a worker cooperative law by the Duma on 4 December 2020. Japanese co-operators, particularly the Japan Workers’ Cooperative Union (JWCU), have campaigned for more than 40 years for the law, which will enable businesses to register as worker cooperatives. Prior to its adoption, Japan had no specific legal form for worker cooperatives, which had to register either as non-profit organisations or small and medium enterprises.


The newly passed Act consists of 171 articles, and it was written with a high level of labour standards in mind. Its main ambition is to provide the necessary legislation to worker cooperatives. By having proper recognition, they are able to promote employment opportunities through the cooperative values, including democratic member control, and member economic participation. This in turn, will enable the newly established cooperatives to meet diverse demands in local communities, which ultimately contribute to their development and growth.


This historic development paves the way for revitalisation of worker cooperatives and grants a new kind of autonomy to workers in Japan who are now empowered to invest and manage their own cooperative enterprises. A number of industries key for Japan, including ageing, childcare and support industries to agriculture and forestry, will be directly benefited. The passing of this new Act is said to open a whole new horizon of possibilities for worker cooperatives in Asia and the Pacific region, as labor recognition in cooperativism becomes a reality.




ICA Asia and Pacific and the ICA-EU Partnership[1] in collaboration with CICOPA (International Organisation of Industrial and Service Cooperatives) joins JWCU in their celebration of the new “Worker Cooperatives Act”. It is proposed to have an online roundtable discussion to bring together all interested stakeholders in Asia and the Pacific region with the following key objectives:


  • Share experiences in worker cooperative development, addressing the issues of rising unemployment amidst the ongoing crisis and promotion of inclusive societies
  • Stimulate collaboration amongst stakeholders to promote a conceptual understanding of worker cooperative legislation at multiple levels
  • Facilitate discussion between cooperative organizations and academia in the Asia-Pacific region



To register, click here

[1] In March 2016, the ICA and the European Union signed a Framework Partnership Agreement to implement a development programme aimed at benefitting and advancing cooperatives worldwide.



Event start date:
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Event end date:
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Venue: Zoom Meeting