The Changing Economic Performance and Political Significance of Japan's Agricultural Cooperatives
Nokyo, the system of agricultural cooperatives in Japan, is one of the most politically powerful organisations in Japanese politics. It is a mammoth economic entity that provides almost every kind of service to rural areas. Nokyo’s economic performance has never been properly analysed because of the complexity of its business statistics. This paper fills this gap by compiling data on Nokyo’s economic activities over the past three decades. It finds that the mid-1990s was a turning point for Nokyo. Nokyo’s strength had been based on its privileged position in financial services, creating stability in its operations in the 1970s and 1980s. In the mid-1990s, as fierce competition began in Japan’s financial markets, Nokyo’s existence became less secure.
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