Consumer Affairs Agency, Government Of Japan
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White Paper on Consumer Affairs 2015 [Summary]

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

Chapter 2 Consumer-related socioeconomic situation and consumers’ behavior⁄attitude

Section 2 Consumers’ behavior and attitude

More consumers are committed to take action, such as closely checking labels
  • More consumers are committed to take action, such as “closely checking and understanding labels and descriptions before selecting products/services,” “notifying businesses of any problem with products/services,” and “knowing and having in mind how to respond to potential problems.”

Figure 2-2-1 Actions consumers are committed to take

Consumers appreciate businesses providing safe products/services but see lack of communication with consumers
  • Many consumers (65.5%) appreciate businesses’ activities to provide safe products/services.
  • By contrast, consumers are less satisfied in some areas, with about 30% appreciating responses and information provided by businesses and about 10% approving of businesses’ communication with consumers, including acceptance of consumer voices.

Figure 2-2-13 Types of consumer-related activities that consumers think are eagerly conducted by businesses

About half the consumers prefer not to receive door-to-door solicitation or telemarketing unless they request
  • About 96% of consumers do not want to receive door-to-door solicitation or telemarketing at all.
  • Those consumers who prefer that door-to-door solicitation should be prohibited in principle and provided only when requested accounted for 51.3%. The comparable figure for telemarketing was 57.2%.

Figure 2-2-6(1) Perceptions of door-to-door solicitation and telemarketing

Figure 2-2-6(2) Consumers’ attitude toward door-to-door solicitation and telemarketing

About 10% of consumers have experienced consumer harm and problems
  • Consumers who said they had experienced consumer harm and problems with products or services purchased in the past year accounted for 10.6%, up from 8.0% in the previous fiscal year.

Figure 2-2-7 Experience of consumer harm and problems associated with purchased products/services

The percentage of consumers consulting or reporting to public consultation offices slightly increased
  • Among consumers who have experienced harm or problems, about 50% consulted or reported to someone or some organization.
  • When asked whom they consulted or reported to, over 40% said it was the manufacturer or provider of the product/service, and about 30% cited the distributor or solicitor of the product/service.
  • Only 7% consulted or reported to public (e.g., municipal) consumer consultation offices (accounting for around 2-3% of those who have experienced harm or problem).

Figure 2-2-9 Parties to whom consumers consulted or reported harm or problems

Public recognition of the CAA has generally improved
  • Public recognition of the CAA’s activities has improved from two years ago in all categories, including “establishing rules on food labeling,” “regulating false labeling, deceptive advertising, and misleading representations of products/services.”
  • The combined percentage of consumers who “do not know the CAA” and those who “know the CAA by the name but do not know the above activities” decreased from 44.8% to 32.5% in two years.

Figure 2-2-14 Changes in the public recognition of CAA activities

The food loss problem is recognized by about 70% of consumers
  • The annual “food loss” which means food waste discarded even in edible conditions amounts to 5 to 8 million tons in Japan, which is equivalent to annual rice production in Japan. Food loss has become a major problem from the viewpoint of resource use and environmental conservation. In the survey in FY 2014, 68.7% of consumers said they recognized the food loss problem.
  • Since FY 2012, the Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) has been conducting activities to reduce food loss in collaboration with related ministries and agencies.
  • In FY 2014, the CAA posted recipes on a recipe website to help consumers resolve food-related problems familiar to them, such as food loss and food allergy, while enjoying meal.

A certain percentage of people are still concerned about radioactive material and avoid food from specific regions
  • A certain percentage of consumers still hesitate to purchase food produced in Fukushima Prefecture. However, fewer residents in Fukushima have hesitation in buying local food.
  • The Consumer Affairs Agency, in collaboration with related ministries and agencies and local governments, strives to provide accurate information by conducting risk communication (information/opinion exchange gatherings), publishing explanatory booklets, and developing communicators (about 3,400 as of end-March 2014).
    * Communicators refer to people who are trained to deliver accurate information to local communities.

Figure 2-2-20 Producing regions of food that people concerned about radioactive material hesitate to buy from

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