I would like to wish all our Co-operative members, staff members, stakeholders and Cooperative colleagues around the world a sincere Happy New Year 2017. Let me take the opportunity to convey my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the overwhelming support received from you all that pivoted the success of our business and activities in the fiscal 2016.
Review of 2016
Almost six years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake but our hearts still go out to the families of the victims of this terrible tragedy. Also I would like to express my sympathy to the victims of the Kumamoto Earthquake in April, the Tottori Prefecture Chubu Earthquake in October and the severe typhoons experienced in Hokkaido and the Tohoku areas causing massive damage throughout the country. Co-operatives nationwide cooperated with the support activities of the Kumamoto Earthquake from the very day of the disaster by sending relief supplies, dispatching voluntary staff, organizing fund raising reaching 1.1 billion JPY for reconstruction exercise and collaborating with health care institutions to offer health care assistance in the disaster area.
The year under review also saw Co-op nationwide reaching out to communities for safe and secure living through our businesses and activities. Initiatives geared towards solving problems associated with aging, elderly isolation, domestic disparity and poverty which has become a common problem in Japan were advanced.
On food issues, a significant improvement of CO･ OP products business and co-ops’ effort towards a healthy eating lifestyle through information dissemination and catering services supporting parents with children and senior citizens were achieved. We also extended social services beyond Japan through the sale of CO･OP products.
On environment, Co-op advanced initiative in promoting enlightening activities to shift alternative energy, while reducing environmental load from co-op operations.
On the international front, we were privileged to have our vice-president Ms. ARAI Chitose being elected as ICA-AP Vice President and our board member Ms. SHINBO Masako re-elected as the chairperson of the ICA-AP Women’s Committee.
On the national level, JCCU advanced its initiative towards partnering with the Japanese Government in achieving the United Nations sustainable development goals, SDGs. In 2016, JCCU submitted an opinion to the Government regarding the “Guideline for SGDs Implementation” and demanded that the Government specifies co-operatives as stakeholders to work together with for the achievement of the SDGs since ICA has set sustainable society as one of its core themes in its 2020 vision “Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade”. It is my believe that the efforts to SDGs and the registration of cooperative by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage in 2016, are new issues and expectations placed on cooperatives.
This is a very pleasant story rather than a mere heritage and it is my hope that cooperatives worldwide will see this as a way of getting united through a common philosophy of "sharing" and "consideration to others". We are proud of this and would like the cooperative association of Japan and the world to continue to jointly cooperate as was the case of IYC.