Consumer Affairs Agency, Government Of Japan
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White Paper on Consumer Affairs 2013 [Summary]

Part 1 Today’s consumer issues and consumers’ behavior/attitude

Chapter 3 Trends in consumer issues

Section 1 Overview of consumer issues

The number of consumer accidents reported under the Consumer Safety Act has declined, but that of serious accidents has not

Since the establishment in September 2009, the Consumer Affairs Agency has received information on consumer accidents and other incidents from relevant administrative organizations and local governments under the Consumer Safety Act and other relevant laws. The collected information has been organized and analyzed.

In FY 2012, the Consumer Affairs Agency was informed of 12,729 consumer accidents and incidents (down 15.8% from 15,117 cases in the previous year) under the Consumer Safety Act. These consisted of 2,813 cases of “life or health-related accidents” (down 2.6% from 2,889 cases in the previous year) and 9,916 property-related cases (down 18.9% from 12,228 cases in the previous year).

Figure 3-1-1 A total of 12,729 consumer accidents were reported to the Consumer Affairs Agency in FY 2012

Consumer consultation cases handled at local consumer affairs centers have been declining

The local consumer affairs centers across Japan received requests for consultation on consumption-related issues from consumers and register the collected consumer affairs consultation information with PIO-NET. The number of registered cases peaked at approximately 1.92 million in FY 2004 and has been declining since then, reaching approximately 0.84 million in FY 2012.

Figure 3-1-2 Registration of consumer affairs consultation cases with PIO-NET has been declining since its peak in FY 2004

Figure 3-1-7 About 26% of consumers are dissatisfied with products/services

About 30% of victims did not seek consultation

People who have experienced health or financial damage in the past year were asked whether they had consulted or told anyone about the damage. The largest proportion of them said they “consulted or told no one” (30.7%), followed by those having consulted “someone close (family member, friend, colleague, etc.)”(29.7%).

Figure 3-1-8 About 30% of victims did not consult or tell anyone about their damage

Figure 3-1-10 Slightly less than 40% of those who did not consult anyone say they thought it would be no use

About 10% of those who have ever purchased via cross- border trade experienced problem

When asked whether they had purchased any product/service from an overseas business in the past year, 3.8% of consumers said they “purchased products/services overseas while visiting there,” and 4.6% said they “purchased products/services via online shopping sites etc., while staying in Japan.” Almost 10% of these consumers experienced damage or problem.

Figure 3-1-11 About 10% of those who have ever purchased via cross-border trade experienced problem

Figure 3-1-12 Cases involving “goods not delivered” and “receiving of counterfeit goods” account for almost 60% of all consultations on problems associated with cross-border trade

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