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Consumer Research

White Paper on Consumer Affairs

The Consumer Affairs Agency engages daily in the research and analysis of consumer issues for the purpose of more pertinent consumer affairs policies. The outcomes from such research and analysis are put together, coupled with the progress of consumer affairs policies by the government, and are published in the form of the White Paper on Consumer Affairs on an annual basis.

Checking commodity price movements

Public utility pricing policy

When public utility charges, etc. are to be revised, we engage in discussions with governing ministries and agencies from the viewpoint of defending consumer benefits. In particular, in the event of any important decision on or revision of public utility charges, etc., we respond by submitting the matter to a relevant ministerial meeting on commodity price issues to take an even more rigorous stand.

Recent meetings of the Ministerial Council on Prices

Date Matter discussed
July 20, 2012 Rate revision of Tokyo Electric Power Company
March 29, 2013 Rate revision of Kansai Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co.
August 2, 2013 Rate revision of Shikoku Electric Power Co. and Hokkaido Electric Power Co.
November 29, 2013 Revision of the price caps for standard size postal items (less than 25g only) and correspondence items under 25g subject to the postage cap due to the consumption tax rate increase
February 28, 2014 Revision of public utility charges, etc. (railroad, bus, taxi, and tobacco) due to the consumption tax rate increase (*)
April 15, 2014 Rate revision of Chubu Electric Power Co.
October 14, 2014 Rate revision of Hokkaido Electric Power Co.
May 15, 2015 Rate revision of Kansai Electric Power Co.
June 26, 2015 Specification of price caps of NTT East and West
December 20, 2016 Reclassification of fares of public motor vehicle transportation services (in the special wards of Tokyo, Musashino-shi, and Mitaka-shi)
Fares of JR companies, 15 major private railways, Tokyo Metro, and public subways in the 6 major cities
Fares of 9 major private bus lines in Tokyo and public bus lines in the 6 major cities
Taxi fares in the special wards of Tokyo
Retail list prices of manufactured tobacco

Members of the Ministerial Council on Prices

  • Chief Cabinet Secretary (chairperson)
  • Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications
  • Minister of Finance
  • Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
  • Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare
  • Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
  • Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
  • Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
  • Minister of State for Financial Services
  • Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety
  • Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy

Commodity price monitor survey

In order to keep track of price movements of goods for daily lives, etc. (25 items), prices in attitudes towards consumption and commodity price movements and other such matters accurately and promptly, we conduct a commodity price monitor survey once a month by way of surveyors who are located nationwide (2,000 surveyors).

Promotion of consumer-oriented management

In order to realize a sustainable, better society, it is necessary to cooperate and work with consumers and businesses as well as administrative bodies. Based on the belief that consumer-oriented business activities (i.e. consumer-oriented management) of businesses lead to a sound market, the Consumer Affairs Agency promotes consumer-oriented management in businesses.
We established the consumer-oriented management promotion organization "Platform" with business associations and consumer groups. Promotional activities such as "voluntary declaration of consumer-orientation and follow-up activities" are developed nationwide.
The "voluntary declaration of consumer-orientation and follow-up activities" are activities of businesses in which they voluntarily declare and publicly announce that they will conduct consumer-oriented management, take actions based on the declaration, and follow up on and publicly announce the results.