2021 Volume 41 Issue 2 Pages 52-65
Since the creation of the first workers cooperative in 1982, Japanese worker cooperatives have produced results in a wide range of fields, and research on worker cooperatives in Japan has developed, providing theoretical support for these efforts. This paper aims to clarify the current state of study of workers cooperatives in Japan and two problems left by previous research. The most significant recent achievement in the development of worker cooperatives was the passage of the Workers Cooperative Act, in December of 2020. The law, backed by the cooperative movement, adopted the concept of social economy in European countries which has promoted the value of Worker cooperatives. But the passage of the law presents two problems for research. One of it is that Japanese studies have overlooked the aspect of the worker cooperatives as self-managed firms. This has led to a gap in research themes both domestically and internationally. Another is that Japanese research has been based on the concept of “worker cooperatives” in Europe. However, this is not the most suitable concept to grasp the current status of the movement globally. For the future development of worker cooperative research, it is necessary to solve these two issues.