On July 5, 2021, the 99th International Day of Co-operatives Forum was held online. It was attended by about 300 people including co-operatives, academics, and media from all over Japan. Because it was held online, this year's forum could attract more participants from outside Tokyo metropolitan areas than in previous years held in a Tokyo venue.
The global theme for this year's International Day of Cooperatives is "Rebuild Better Together." Based on this theme, four cooperators reported on the businesses and activities of Japanese co-operatives in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, a panel discussion was held on the theme "The Role of Co-operatives after the COVID-19 pandemic."
First, Ms.AKAGAWA Yoko, Section Manager of the Member Relations Department in Toyama Health Cooperative Society, reported on the mutual help between staff and members, how members help each other, how they interact with each other online, and how they create a comfortable living environment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taken turns, Mr. GOTO Masami, Head of Chiba distribution center of "Center Jigyodan" in Japan Workers' Co-operative Union (JWCU), spoke about the inter-co-operative collaboration with consumer co-ops, and the conflicts faced by workers with disabilities, foreign workers, and the COVID-19 infected employees in the workplace, as well as the understanding and supporting each other in their workplace environment. He also showed special video clips.
Mr. HASHIMOTO Takayasu, Manager of Solution Support department in Hamamatsu Iwata Shinkin Bank（credit union), gave an explanation of the Shinkin Bank's efforts to support local industries and its accompanying support aimed at providing medium- to long-term management assistance in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The final speaker, Mr. TAKAHASHI Kazunori, Director General of the Cooperative Net Hokkaido, introduced the history leading to the establishment of the Co-operative Net Hokkaido, advice on building inter-co-operative collaboration, and examples of activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. AOTAKE Yutaka, Managing Director of Japan Co-operative Alliance (JCA), asked questions and received answers from the four speakers on the theme "The Role of Co-operatives after COVID-19 pandemic."
This year, as a special report, Mr. FURUMURA Nobuhiro, Board Chairperson of Japan Workers' Co-operative Union (JWCU), and Ms.FUJII Eri, Representative of Workers'Collective Network Japan (WNJ), spoke about Workers' Cooperatives Act in Japan. The act was passed unanimously by the ruling and opposition parties in the extraordinary Diet session on December 4, 2020.