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 4 Development of consumer policy

Section 2 Major developments in consumer policy

Major developments in consumer policy

The framework for consumer administration has been expanded since the establishment of the Consumer Affairs Agency. Under the framework, the Consumer Affairs Agency and related ministries have been implementing various consumer policies. While individual policies are explained in Part 2, major recent developments in consumer policy are described below.

  • ○Management of consumer accidents affecting the life and health of consumers
    • Established the Consumer Safety Investigation Commission in the Consumer Affairs Agency (October 2012)
    • Providing product recall information at the “Recall Information Site”
  • ○Response to financial losses caused by dishonest businesses
    • Revised the Consumer Safety Act (August 2012) to provide for administrative measures for the “cases falling in the gaps” between laws
    • Revised the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions (August 2012) to additionally regulate door-to-door purchase
    • Submitted a “Bill on Special Provisions for Civil Trial Procedures for Collective Redress for Property Damage to Consumers” to the Diet (April 2013)
  • ○Enhancement of local consumer administration
    • Supporting the establishment of local consumer affairs centers, employment and development of consultants, and consumer education and awareness raising, based on the Local Consumer Administration Vitalization Funds
    • Increased the above funds by about ¥6 billion with appropriations from the FY 2012 supplementary budget
  • ○Promotion of consumer education
    • Conducting discussion for developing basic policy on the promotion of consumer education in accordance with the Act on Promotion of Consumer Education (enacted in August 2012)
  • ○Integration of food labeling systems
    • Submitted a comprehensive bill to regulate food labeling to the Diet (April 2013)
  • ○Food safety and radiation
    • Lending radiation detectors to local governments, publishing relevant information (e.g., “Food and Radiation Q& A”), and promoting risk communication with consumers.
  • ○Promotion of fair utility rates
    • “Study Group on Utility Rates” completed a report in consideration of the impact of numerous factors including the effect of the 2011 nuclear accident on electricity rates (November 2012)
Enhancement of local consumer administration

The Consumer Affairs Agency has been assisting local government through the Local Consumer Administration Vitalization Funds in areas such as the establishment of local consumer affairs centers and other consultation offices, employment and development of consultants, and consumer education and awareness raising. As a result, the number of local consumer affairs centers has increased from 501 in 2009 to 724 in 2012, and the budget for local consumer administration has expanded from approximately ¥10.1 billion in FY 2008 to approximately ¥16.7 billion in FY 2012 (initial budget).

Figure 4-2-4 Additional 223 local consumer affairs centers have been set up in the past 3 years

Figure 4-2-6 Budget for local consumer administration has been increasing after hitting bottom in FY 2008

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