【Beat Covid-19】Japanese Cooperatives’ Efforts to Combat Covie-19 (Summary Report Ver.3)
We would like to express our heartfelt condolences to those who are still being affected by Novel Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19). We would also like to continue to pay our respects to those who are working hard day and night to protect people’s health and livelihood, especially to those who are engaged in medical and welfare services.
Local cooperatives continue to make efforts against Covid-19 to support local livelihoods and economies. We continue to briefly report on those efforts following the report on June 24. (This was compiled by the JCA based on information provided by national cooperative organizations of various sectors that are members of the JCA. Some of the initiatives have already been completed.)
- JA Group (Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives (JA-ZENCHU), National Federation of Agricultural Co-operative Associations (ZEN-NOH))
The JA Group is promoting the following initiatives
(1) JA Group’s own efforts to increase consumption of agricultural and livestock products (wagyu beef, milk and dairy products, flowers and fruits, etc.)
① Promote initiatives to increase consumption in the production areas
② Initiatives in conjunction with the hometown tax (By donating to any municipality, part of the amount donated can be deducted from her/his income and resident’s tax)
https://www.furusato-tax.jp/feature/a/campaign_corona-virus (Japanese only)
③ Efforts to expand consumption through JA Town (*)
* Online shopping mall operated by ZEN-NOH, where JAs across the country open shops.
④ Efforts to expand consumption in collaboration with JA’s farmers market, A-Coop stores, and restaurants.
(2) Establishment of a JA Group agricultural recruitment portal site
As one of the measures to alleviate the labor shortage in the production areas, a national agricultural recruitment website has been set up on the JA Group website.
(3) Dissemination of information connecting consumers and farmers
① Facebook page: “Everyone’s Good Food Project”
https://www.facebook.com/yoishoku.jp/ (Japanese only)
② JA Group application “JA Shunmikke
https://life.ja-group.jp/farm/app/ (Japanese only)
③ YouTube channel: “Agurin CH”
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYbhs_fIsoUUCy-NBtagzoQ (Japanese only)
④ “Everyone’s Good Flowers Project,” collaboration with “BUZZ MAFF” by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
(4) JA Group Community Healthcare Support Fund
To protect community healthcare, JA Group members, executives and employees raised funds to support the Prefectural Federations of Agricultural Cooperatives (JAs) for Health and Welfare.
https://org.ja-group.jp/donation (Japanese only)
- Prefectural Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives for Health and Welfare (information provided by National Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives for Health and Welfare)
Management is quite difficult with a 10-20% drop in revenue due to the Covid-19. The more aggressively a hospital accepts corona patients, the more difficult it is to manage. Management is even more difficult for the Prefectural Federations that focus on health checkups and do not operate any hospitals. The National Federation recognizes the need for management support as a major issue and is vigorously requesting support from the government.
- Japan Culture and Welfare Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives
Taking advantage of the benefit of the nationwide bulk purchasing of medical materials, the Federation is doing the best to supply the Prefectural Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives for Health and Welfare and JA with materials to prevent infection. In its newsletter for federation members, the federation disseminates information on the current state of the federation and articles on the Covid-19 by scholars. A special appeal for measures against infectious diseases was adopted at the general meeting (July 28), and the Federation will continue to develop the campaign.
- Nokyo Tourist Corporation (Ntour)
As for domestic travel, Ntour makes travel plans in accordance with the guidelines of each industry. The outlook for international travel is uncertain.
- Consumer Cooperatives Group (information provided by Japanese Consumers’ Co-operative Union (JCCU))
Local consumer co-ops are promoting the following initiatives:
https://jccu.coop/info/up_item/announce_200727_01_03.pdf (Japanese only)
(1) Support for dairy farmers affected by the suspension of school meals
Consumer co-ops around the country support MAFF’s “Plus One Project” to support dairy farming.
https://jccu.coop/info/newsrelease/2020/20200512_01.html (Japanese only)
(2) Promotion of local products (home delivery and stores)
(3) Support for food banks, food drives, and children’s cafeterias (places to offer free or low-priced foods to economically disadvantaged children)
(4) In-store support (e.g. setting special shopping hours for the elderly, the disabled and pregnant and nursing mothers, creating special sections to support local products, etc.)
(5) Support through home delivery service (e.g. providing home-delivery lunch boxes in response to school closure)
(6) Welfare (making face masks at a day service center, Co-op staff members supporting schoolchildren, providing foods for free, Co-op staff members making face masks)
(7) Communication with members (establishing special websites, uploading kids’ exercises, providing information on the food information website, creating online community platforms, holding online lectures, promoting health promotion campaigns, etc.)
https://community.coop-kobe.net/tane/ (Co-op Kobe’s community platform)
(8) Fundraising and donations (donating to medical institutions, medical and welfare co-ops, community chests, UNICEF and others, providing support for face masks and other supplies)
(9) Cooperation with the local governments (distributing fliers to prevent hoarding and alert people to unscrupulous business practices, delivering packages of foods and daily necessaries for those who are isolated at home, etc.)
(10) Recruitment support (hiring and additionally screening students whose job offers were cancelled, temporarily hiring those who were dismissed or whose contract renewal was rejected, etc.)
- Japan Co-op Insurance Consumers’ Co-operative Federation (JCIF)
(1) Implemented measures such as extension of the grace period for payment of premiums and inclusion of hospitalization due to the Covid-19 in insurance coverage.
(2) Implemented an online mutual aid project to support medical workers. Between July 22 and October 20, 50 yen per case will be donated to the Health and Welfare Co-operative Association based on the number of registrations and document changes made on the policyholder’s online page.
- National Federation of Workers & Consumers Kyosai Cooperatives (Kokumin Kyosai co-op)
Fundraising by officers and employees for the National Federation of University Co-operative Associations and the Japanese Health and Welfare Co-operative Federation
- Labour Bank (information provided by National Association of Labour Banks (NALB)
(1) Implemented a Special loan system for Workers’ Living Support (unsecured loan) in a unified manner across 13 Labour banks. (loan interest rate 1.5%)
(2) Started to act as an intermediary for the “Temporary Loan Emergency Funds “ provided by the Social Welfare Council in April.
- Workers’ Co-op (information provided by Japan Workers’ Co-operative Union (Jigyodan) (JWCU))
(1) In the business of schoolchildren’s care and children’s centers, with the basic policy of protecting lives and jobs together, worker’s co-ops have been engaged in their duties while ensuring a relationship of trust with users and their families, as well as thoroughly adhering to the Cooperative principles on site.
(2) In the counseling and support services for people’s daily life, the number of consultations on the closure of businesses and unemployment reached a year’s worth during the months of April and May. Recommendations are being made for job training with benefits, and in the area of study support, visits to homes are being made to identify needs.
(3) Hypochlorous acid water “Clean Killer” provided by JWCU is actively used in their facilities and the order has been largely increasing.
(posted on 7 August 2020 in Japanese)