Jun. 4th, 2015

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Cultural Notes

11 - 3

 The Japanese Agricultural Cooperative (JA)
- The JA is, in short, a government agency that lobbies for Japanese farmers and promotes their interests in government affairs. Examples include imports and overseeing standards and regulations for almost all farming enterprises, including real estate, insurance, machinery, taxes, etc. 

 In the 1900s Japan underwent several major governmental and ideological shifts, with departments merging, being terminated or reformed. During World War II, the current JA was reformed from the ashes of previous institutions overseeing agricultural coops and Kous (Japanese RoSCAs) in order to regulate agriculture during food shortages. This was to prevent sales of food products on the black market during the period of shortage. After the war, JA policies were generally conservative and subsidies and taxes alike made it cheaper for many to grow their own food rather than purchase it. This lead to many continuing to be farmers even if only on weekends with another full time job. These small scale farmers would often sell their land and keep only a small farming lot for their individual household. Still farmers and involved in the JA, these families proceeds frequently remain in JA bank accounts, which are then reinvested and used by the JA.

During the timeframe of Shiki (1994), the JA is a part of the Japanese National Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, though as of 2002 it was reclassified as a Special Civilian Corporation.  During the time of Shiki, the JA had the authority to audit agricultural coops and to collect dues and fees from members of these coops. 

The JA bank functions much like any other bank system, with investments, savings and loans. As of 2012, the JA Bank was the second largest megabank in Japan, with ¥88 trillion.
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