Major consumer policies by the Consumer Affairs Agency
Part 2 : Implementation of consumer policy
Chapter 1 : Major consumer policies by the Consumer Affairs Agency
Process chart for The Basic Plan on Consumer Policy
- Based on the fourth Basic Plan on Consumer Policy (decided on by the Cabinet on March 31, 2020), the efforts planned as part of specific policies that should be executed by relevant government offices have been defined into this process chart to promote the consumer policy both systematically and comprehensively in a verifiable format.
- 153 policies are organized into five pillars and the planned efforts and their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) during the target period (till FY2024) are stated explicitly.
- It will be revised each fiscal year according to the progress of the policies and its details will also be reviewed as required in emergencies such as the spread of COVID-19.
|I. Preventing consumer harm||II. Promoting economic/social structural reforms through consumers' participation, etc. to fair and sustainable society||III. Flexible/focused response to various issues related to consumer affairs||IV. Promotion of consumer education and providing information to consumers||V. Establishing the structure to promote consumer administration|
Ensuring consumer safety
Optimizing transactions and product labeling and ensuring consumer opportunities for independent and reasonable selections
Promoting policies that are coordinated among relevant government offices to support consumers with weakness, etc.
Establishing the framework to process complaints from consumers and settle disputes
Coordination and cooperation between consumers and business operators that contribute to food loss and waste reduction, etc.
Coordination and cooperation between consumers and business operators that contribute to environmental conservation
Other coordination and cooperation between consumers and business operators that contribute to development of sustainable society
Promotion of voluntary efforts to improve compliance in business activities
Simultaneous realization of utilization of digital platform and other digital services and protection/promotion of consumer profit
Response to globalization development of consumer affairs
Response to emergencies, such as spread of COVID-19 and disasters
Promotion of consumer education
Promotion of enlightenment activities for consumer policies
Reflecting consumer opinions/ensuring consumer policy transparency
Establishing national systems
Establishing local systems
Responses by the Consumer Affairs Agency to COVID-19 (Part 1 Chapter 2 Section 6)
- Increase in consumer affairs consultations regarding COVID-19 due to the spread of COVID-19
- Declaration of the state of emergency
(From April 7 to May 25, 2020; from January 8 to March 21, 2021; from April 25, 2021 to present)
- During the spread of COVID-19, the following measures were implemented:
- Maintenance/reinforcement of consumer affairs consultation systems
- Actions to misleading representations and awareness raising
- Appeal for calm purchasing activities
- Awareness raising regarding piggybacking fraudulent schemes
- Under the Act on Emergency Measures for Stabilizing Living Conditions of the Public, it was prohibited to resell face masks and alcohol disinfectants (and then, this restriction was lifted in August 2020).
- The Agency informed consumers of cautionary points for shopping and eating out in the New Lifestyle.
Enhancement/strengthening of local consumer administration
- Local community is the front line of consumer administration.
- Establishment of consumer affairs consultation system accessible to anyone
- Prevention of consumer trouble outbreaking or expantion, especially for elderly people
- Formulation of the "campaign for strengthening local consumer administration 2020" in April 2020
- Implementation of multi-layered policies to enhance/strengthen local consumer administration
- Support based on a grant to strengthen local consumer administration
- Digitalization of consumer affairs consultation
- Development of human resources for local consumer administration
- Advanced model projects
- Establishment of "Local Council for Ensuring the Safety of Consumers" (Watch-over Network) and support to efforts by local public organizations to collaborate consumer affairs supporters and consumer affairs support groups
* Municipalities where Watch-over Network is installed: 327 (as of March 31, 2021)
Protection/promotion of consumer profits in transactions via digital platforms
- Expansion of consumer transactions on digital platforms
- Emergency of new types of troubles involving sellers unfamiliar with business transactions
- Submission of "Bill for the Protection of Consumers who use Digital Platforms" to the 204th ordinary session of the Diet, based on the expert report "Review of environmental maintenance, etc. in consumer transactions involving digital platform companies" (Outline of the bill: P26)
- Once the bill is passed, a preparatory meeting will be held to set up a Public-Private Council, guidelines and other specific plans will be released and dissemination/enlightenment efforts will be made to enforce the new law.
Strengthening of law enforcement against fraudulent schemes
- Prevention of consumer damage through fraudulent schemes (No. of consumer affairs consultations: 934,000 cases* (2020))
- Strengthening and speeding up of law enforcement against fraudulent schemes targeting consumer weakness
* Total number of consultations including cases of fraudulent schemes
- Strict, appropriate enforcement under the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions and the Act on the Deposit, etc. Transaction Agreements of Specified Commodities, etc.
- Submission of "Bill to Partially Amend the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions, etc. to Prevent Damage to and Promote the Recovery of Comsumers" to the 204th ordinary session of the Diet, based on the expert report Study Group on Reform "the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions" and "the Act on the Deposit, etc. Transaction Agreements of Specified Commodities," etc. (Outline of the bill: P27)
<Sales for deposit schemes are prohibited due to amendment of the Act on the Deposit, etc. Transaction Agreements of Specified Commodities, etc., in principle.>
Promotion of policies under the Act on Promotion of Food Loss and Waste Reduction
- The annual amount of food loss and waste is 6 million tons (estimated in FY2018).
- The amount of food loss and waste must be halved by FY 2030, compared with the amount in FY2000 (e.g. Fourth Fundamental Plan for Establishing a Sound Material-Cycle Society).
- Under the Basic Policy on Promotion of Food Loss and Waste Reduction (decided on by Cabinet in March 2020), relevant ministries work together in efforts, including system reviews, to encourage various bodies such as business operators, relevant organizations/industries and consumers to take this "as their own affairs" and take action respectively.
- Dissemination/promotion of good examples such as the establishment of the "Food Loss and Waste Reduction Promotion Award"
- Disposal reduction by introducing convenient labelling correction methods in case of violation of the Food Labelling Standard.
- Donation of storage food for disaster to organizations for food bank activities And so on.
<Award ceremony for "Popular Naming Contest for Best-before-Date" and "Slogan & Photo-Contest for Food Loss and Waste Reduction">
Promotion of consumer-oriented management
- Development of a society with consumer-oriented management (aka "sustainable management") as its basic recognition (from FY2016)
- Promotion of consumer-oriented voluntary declaration and follow-up activities
- Acceleration of promotion activities such as recognizing good examples and promotion of efforts in consumer-oriented management by business operators from the perspective of consumers
- Review of recognition of good examples, conceptual organization of consumer-oriented management and consideration of linkage to finance on which ESG investment and other concepts have been reflected, etc.
<Three activities in consumer-oriented management>
<Changes in the number of operators that made a voluntary declaration of consumer-oriented management>
Promotion of consumer education for lowering the age of adulthood
- The age of adulthood under the Civil Code will be lowered to 18 on April 1, 2022. (Those aged 18 and 19 will not be able to exercise the right to rescind.)
- The campaign "with all strength for consumer education associated with lowering the age of adulthood". (Decision by the liaison meeting of 4 relevant ministry's Director-General regarding the promotion of consumer education for youth, March 2021)
- Implementation of multi-layered efforts in collaboration with relevant ministries as well as involving local governments, universities, relevant groups and media, etc as the campaign "with all strength for consumer education associated with lowering the age of adulthood".
- Education in regards to contracts on consumer's life family finance management, etc.
- Education contributing to the prevention of damages suffered by consumers.
Demonstration of functionality of Consumer Affairs Agency Strategic Headquarters for Frontiers of Consumer Policy
- Consumer Affairs Agency Strategic Headquarters for Frontiers of Consumer Policy was established in Tokushima Prefecture (July 2020) to enhance its functionality as a new permanent base.
- Further enhancement of functions such as model projects leveraging the demonstration field, consumer policy researches, international operations, etc.
- Implementation of international joint researches so that overseas trends in consumer policies and research outcomes can be utilized in long-term consumer policies
Response to digitalization
- Submission of the Bill for the Protection of Consumers who use Digital Platforms to the 204th ordinary session of the Diet in March 2021*
* Passed on April 28, 2021
Revision of the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions and the Act on the Deposit, etc. Transaction Agreements of Specified Commodities, etc.
- Submission of "Bill to Partially Amend the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions, etc. to Prevent Damage to and Promote the Recovery of Consumers" to the 204th ordinary session of the Diet in March 2021