Business EnvironmentAccelerating structural changes are transforming agriculture in Japan. With the farming population shrinking and aging, there is a growing trend toward larger-scale farming operations, such as community farming and corporate farming. In response to this situation, the government is implementing a variety of measures with the aim of doubling incomes across the entire agricultural and rural sector over the next 10 years, under a plan designed to revitalize agriculture, forestry, sheries, and rural communities. The revised Agricultural Cooperative Society Law, which took effect in April 2016, will have a major impact on the activities and organization of the JA Group, including the way members make use of JA businesses, the reform of the Prefectural and Central Unions of Agricultural Cooperatives (Chuokai and Zenchu), and changes to the executive structure of JAs. At its 27th National Congress of Agricultural Cooperatives in October 2015, the JA Group took up the challenge of “creative self-reform” and adopted three fundamental goals calling for the expansion of farmer incomes, the expansion of agricultural production, and the revitalization of rural communities. The entire JA Group is now committed to this self-reform process.Overview of Business Activities in Fiscal 2015Fiscal 2015 (the year ended March 31, 2016) was the nal year of Zenkyoren’s three-year business plan, which covered scal years 2013 through 2015. Based on the strategic directions identi ed in recommendations from Zenkyoren’s JA Insurance Business Council, we worked to develop community-based business activities that re ect our core goals to strengthen Zenkyoren’s guidance/support functions for JAs, and to improve management ef ciency. Speci cally, individual JAs developed highly focused sales promotion activities through the introduction and implementation of area strategies based on regional characteristics. In addition, we undertook community-focused sales promotion activities based on the use of tablet PCs during visits to current and potential policyholders. We are also restructuring the Zenkyoren organization through reforms designed to strengthen our business functions. In October 2015, we completed the centralization of our life insurance claims assessment functions for all regions into eight locations. In addition to ef ciency improvements, this centralization has also reduced the number of days required to settle claims. We have also continued to upgrade our insurance policies and administrative and computing systems with the aim of improving policyholder services and reducing the clerical burden on JAs. When we revised our comprehensive life insurance business in April 2016, we also introduced new business procedures, primarily through the use of paperless and cashless systems.Future Business DevelopmentZenkyoren, under a three-year business plan covering scal years 2016 through 2018, will support livelihoods and farming by promoting the spirit of mutual assistance in rural communities. In this plan, we have identi ed measures that will ensure steady progress toward the realization of our vision for Zenkyoren, including initiatives based on the agricultural cooperative reforms and self-reform efforts within the JA Group. In keeping with our philosophy of mutual aid, we will work to expand our circle of mutual assistance in rural communities and develop cooperatives as community-based organizations focused on food and agriculture. We will also maintain our commitment to sound management and good faith in our business activities, so that we can continue to offer security and satisfaction to members and policyholders by providing comprehensive coverage of life, homes, and automobiles.August 20163Annual Report 2016


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