In April of this year Suma were delighted to welcome three managers from the Japanese Consumers’ Cooperative Union. They represent 570 individual coops throughout Japan with 27 million members!
It was lovely to have visitors from the other side of the world, and great to show them all things Suma. They liked us so much that that a further sixteen travelled over and spent the day with us last week.
Due to the language barrier, it was really tricky for Rob (from our Brand team) to tell them all about life at the UK’s biggest workers cooperative, luckily for him, the interpreter was fantastic.
Rob was aided and assisted by his beautiful assistant, Roly, who can usually be found in our Stock Control department. One of Roly’s great passions is karate, he has visited Japan and even speaks some Japanese! This made him the ideal person to help Rob look after these very special guests.
The first consumer coop in Japan was set up in the late 19th century based on the Rochdale Pioneer model and became very popular in the 1940’s to help deal with poverty after WW ll.
A large proportion of members are in Home Delivery Networks. They are also involved with supermarket-type stores, housing, mutual insurance, nursing care, furniture, clothing and much more. One of their newest areas of business is a healthy home-delivery meal service to the elderly.
We really like their “2020 Vision of Japanese Co-ops – We are dedicated to working with the people to realize a new society where smiles and trust abound”
There were certainly plenty of smiles throughout the visit and we look forward to future visits and exchanges of ideas. Hopefully by the time the next visit comes round, Roly will be fluent in Japanese!!