Consumer Basic Plan
A Consumer Basic Plan is formulated to set forth the government's guideline on policy measures intended to implement consumer affairs policies in a systematic fashion so as to ensure protection and furtherance of consumer interests.
This Plan provides a summarization of, among other things, the basic direction of consumer affairs policies, specific actions in respective areas and issues to be addressed with a special focus.
Focused Measures from the "Consumer Basic Plan"
Specially focused items of the Consumer Basic Plan to be addressed during the planned period (18 items)
1."General support for greater consumer competencies" to facilitate self-help and self-reliance of consumers
- Enhanced publicity activities on recall information
- Risk communication, etc. regarding food and radiation
- Consumer Contract Act
- Ensuring transparency in pricing process of public utility charges, etc.
- Food Labeling Act [Consumer Affairs Agency]
- Indications, etc. on so-called health food
- Promotion of consumer education
- Consumer damage remedy system
- Food loss reduction, etc.
2."Enhancement of local powers" to bolster local action in close proximity to consumers
- Local consumer affairs administration
- Further improving service quality of the consumer advisory and developing a pertinent structure
- Overhauling the PIO-NET
3."Establishing trust from consumers" mainly in our operations addressing consumer issues
- Consumer safety administration
- Esthetic services and cosmetic medicine
- Act on Specified Commercial Transactions
- Fraudulent investment solicitation
- Paid nursing homes
- Improving sales solicitations in telecommunications business
Measures pursuant to the Consumer Safety Act to address property damage
Pursuant to the Consumer Safety Act, the Consumer Affairs Agency takes prompt action to raise consumers' awareness of dishonest business schemes. In the event of any serious damage on a consumer's property that cannot be addressed by any other law (so-called a "niche area case"), we also ensure that no consumer damage should occur or spread by making recourse to an administrative action (a recommendation etc.) against the business.
Efforts to reduce food loss
Of approximately 27.75 million tons of annual food disposal (food waste and loss) that is included in Japan, so-called "food loss," i.e., food that, though good to eat, gets thrown out, is estimated to amount to approximately 6.21million tons (estimated for FY2016).
About half amount of the food loss is generated by general households and comes largely from Direct disposal, Leftovers and Excess removal.
An estimated amount of food loss generated per a Japanese citizen reaches as much as about 49 kg per year.
The Consumer Affairs Agency has launched knowledge–promoting and education campaigns to have consumers understand things like the importance of reducing food loss and to develop a better understanding and actions from a MOTTAINAI (means “What a waste!” express regret over this waste) point of view.
"Direct disposal" means the discarding of food as it is, without being used or provided as an ingredient for cooking or food products because of being past the freshness date, etc.
"Leftovers" means the discarded food without being eaten though being used or provided.
"Excess removal" means the discarding of eatable parts of food exceedingly at the time of removal for uneatable parts, such as when peeling the skin from a radish.
Addressing harm to consumers in the course of Internet-based transactions
Consumer transactions with the use of the Internet are enjoying remarkable growth and advancement, which, however, come with an increasing number of problems like scams and personal information leakage. As problems involving transactions on the Internet are characterized by rapid changes in technology and service and by a diverse range of stakeholders, they require not only legal control but also the mutually complementary orchestration between voluntary efforts made by businesses and actions taken on the part of consumers themselves.
Thus, with the aim of sharing issues and encouraging stakeholders to take action, the Consumer Affairs Agency regularly organizes an "Internet-Based Consumer Transaction Liaison Meeting," attended by relevant governmental bodies, trade associations, consumer organizations and others, to provide a venue for exchanges of information and inputs.
Cases of consumer trouble are also on the rise in the area of overseas shopping, which is now easier to do as a result of the more widespread and increasing use of the Internet.
Accordingly, the Consumer Affairs Agency is working hard to bring forth an environment that will allow consumers peace of mind in overseas shopping by informing consumers of what the consumers should be careful about so as to avoid trouble and by working on the development of an international network hand in hand with consumer advisory groups overseas.
The Consumer Affairs Agency is making efforts to strengthen international collaboration on consumer policies by actively participating in international conferences such as the OECD Committee on Consumer Policy (CCP) and International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN). In addition, CAA will strengthen collaborative relationships with countries with strong economic relations with Japan through close political dialogue.