(Tentative and Unofficial Translation)
The Three-Year Programme
for Promoting Deregulation as Revised
Cabinet Decision on March 30, 1999
1. Aims and Purposes
The basic aims of deregulation are outlined as follows:
a) through a drastic structural reform pertaining to Japan's society and economy, to create a free and fair socio-economic system that is fully opened to the international community and based on the rules of self-responsibility and market principles; and,
b) to shift emphasis in public administration from ex ante facto regulations to ex post facto monitoring of compliance with general rules. To achieve these aims, deregulation shall be promoted along this Programme during the three-year period between fiscal 1998 and fiscal 2000, while emphasising the following points.
(1) Regulations shall be abolished or otherwise relaxed under the principle that economic regulations shall be lifted and social regulations minimised.
(2) Regulatory arrangements shall be rationalised by, for example, the introduction of inspection by the private sector.
(3) Regulations shall be made simpler and clearer.
(4) International harmonisation of regulations.
(5) Speeding up of regulatory procedures.
(6) Transparency in procedures for formulating regulations.
2. Cross-Sector Approaches of Review
(1) Review of Regulations related to Entry into Businesses
Regulations related to entry into businesses shall be reviewed in order to ease and abolish barriers to entry, keeping an eye on international harmonisation. Emphasis shall be placed on the removal of entry barriers affecting foreign companies and foreign products into the Japanese markets. Notably those measures related to supply-and-demand balancing regulations that are itemised in the latter part of this Programme shall be steadily implemented in compliance with the basic policy that supply-and-demand-balancing regulations should be reviewed for repealing them. Regulations affecting plant and equipment and fares and other charges shall be reviewed as well so that they will not function as substantial impediments to entry.
Areas where private business corporations have been strictly excluded shall be reviewed from the viewpoint of "freedom in principle and prohibition only as an exception" to allow and encourage business corporations to enter into those areas and to stimulate improvements in services and cost reductions through competition. With this regard, due attention shall be paid to the reviewing of the systems of standards/specifications and inspection/certification.
(2) Review of Government Approval and Notification Requirements
Permission and approval requirements, even when their retention is deemed necessary, shall be reviewed for relaxation: i.e., from chartering to permission or approval procedures, and from permission and approval to notification procedures. Concerning regulatory requirements related to matters that are similar or deemed to belong the same category, the review shall be carried out in the direction of applying the lowest regulatory requirement to all other regulations of the group as far as possible.
Furthermore, notification procedures shall be reviewed for changing from advance notification to ex post facto notification in order to allow greater freedom to the notifying party as originally intended in notification procedures.
(3) Review of Certified Qualification Systems
Ministries and Agencies concerned shall review, in accordance with the principles set forth in Attachment 1, certified qualification systems with functional monopoly etc. This review shall focus on reviewing the provisions of functional monopoly, qualification standards, and functional boundaries with a view to achieving greater convenience for the public and for stimulating competition in the services concerned. Based on the results of these reviews, the responsible Ministries and Agencies shall implement pertinent measures within the period of this Programme.
(4) Review of Standards/Specifications and Inspection/Certification
With regard to standards/specifications and inspection/certification (hereinafter referred to alternatively as "standards/certification"), Ministries and Agencies concerned shall, in accordance with the principles set forth in Attachment 2, review standards and procedures while aiming at reducing direct government intervention to necessary minimum levels. The responsible Ministries and Agencies shall endeavour to complete their reviews within the period of this Programme and shall promote the following: revisiting the scope of standards/certification involving the state; switching over to new systems based on self-confirmation and self-maintenance; achieving greater international harmonisation of standards; changing over to performance-based standards; accepting foreign data and adopting mutual recognition arrangements; and eliminating duplicate inspections.
In this process, competitive market principles shall be introduced in those inspection and certification systems utilising such private sector entities as trade associations and non-profit organisations.
In achieving greater conformity with international standards, the Government shall actively make proposals to the international community in order to participate more fully in the formulation of international systems and standards. Further, in order to reduce regulatory burdens on the public while promoting technological development and efficient equipment management, Ministries and Agencies concerned shall consider introducing, in principle, performance-based standards instead of specification-based ones.
Furthermore, the Government shall utilise the function of Administrative Inspection as a means to promote deregulation and improve standards/inspection systems, based upon the fact-findings of actual public administration.
(5) Simplifying and Speeding up of the Process of Reviewing Applications for Licenses, Permission and Approvals
In order to ensure the steady implementation of the "Measures to Halve or Shorten the Current Processing Time for Reviewing Applications for Licenses, Permissions and Approvals" (September 29, 1998), a follow-up review shall be undertaken and the findings published around the end of September 1999.
In support of the above, continued efforts shall be made to take specific actions with relation to the "Measure for Reducing Burdens of Application Procedures" (Cabinet Decision on February 10, 1997) that aim to achieve further simplification, computerisation and "paper-less" filing and networking of procedures.
(6) Revisiting Review Standards for Applications for Licenses, Permissions and Approvals
Review standards for issuing licenses, permissions and approvals shall be revisited in order to clarify, specify and quantify them and thereby minimise discretionary elements as far as possible. The review shall also aim to simplify documentation and data needed for application.
Notice shall be taken of that this review would contribute to the simplifying and speeding up of the processes for reviewing applications for licenses, permissions and approvals under Paragraph (5) above.
Management and Coordination Agency shall, in cooperation with other Ministries and Agencies, continue its on-going cross-sector study as to the types of legal framework most suited for stipulating respective regulations in view of specific characteristics of each regulation: such as law, cabinet order, ministerial ordinance, official notice, and so on. An interim report of the findings of this review shall be published within this calendar year as a goal date.
(7) Strict enforcement and public education on Administrative Procedure Law
In accordance with the Administrative Procedures Law, efforts shall be made to secure clarification and transparency in administrative dispositions such as licenses, permissions and approvals as well as administrative guidance. Steps shall be taken to further educate the public and businesses in the Administrative Procedure Law in order to encourage its full utilisation.
Furthermore, in order to promote greater transparency and predictability in regulatory processes, efforts shall be made to specify typical process time-frame for such licenses, permissions and approvals as are lacking for such time-frame; by the same token, review standards shall be established as soon as possible for those lacking for such standards.
(8) Public Comment Procedure for Formulating, Amending and Repealing a Regulation
In order to improve transparency and secure fairness in the decision-making process related to introducing, amending or repealing regulations, the Government shall enforce the "Public Comment Procedure for Formulating, amending or Repealing a Regulation" (Cabinet Decision on March 23, 1999). Proposed statements and other information shall be notified to the public in the process of formulating such Cabinet Orders and Ministerial Ordinances as are related to formulating, amending or repealing a regulation, and consider relevant comments and information submitted by the general public and businesses thereto in making final decisions.
In order to ensure that the said Procedure is properly implemented in the introduction, amendment and abolition of regulations, the Management and Coordination Agency shall follow up the status of implementation and publish its findings.
(9) Examination of Forthcoming Regulations
As a rule, forthcoming regulations shall be reviewed with a possibility of abolishment after a certain period of time. When drafting a law including new systems and related regulations, Ministries and Agencies shall incorporate in the draft a clause requiring a review of relevant regulations after the passage of a specified period of time (hereinafter referred to as "review clause"), except in such cases where review is deemed inappropriate in view of the purpose and objectives of respective regulations. When the conclusion of such reviews is to maintain existing regulations, the Ministry or Agency concerned shall make clear explanations for the need and justifications.
Minister's Secretariat and/or other competent coordinating sections of individual Ministries and Agencies shall scrutinise forthcoming regulations under a basic principle that regulations shall be kept to minimum necessary levels. Necessity of a regulation, its expected effects and forecasted burden on the public shall be analysed on each of forthcoming regulations. Findings of these analyses shall be published in a easily understandable manner promptly after the closing of each ordinary session of the Diet, together with a list of bills with review clauses and the results of reviews made pursuant to the review clauses.
The Cabinet Legislation Bureau, the Administrative Management Bureau of the Management and Coordination Agency, and the Budget Bureau of the Ministry of Finance shall undertake rigorous examinations of forthcoming regulations based upon each organisation's jurisdictions.
Furthermore, Ministries and Agencies shall work toward the creation of a new system whereby they are held accountable to the public for the effects and burdens of existing and forthcoming regulations falling under their respective jurisdictions. For this purpose, the Ministries and Agencies shall make a further study on how to reinforce their policy evaluation capabilities respectively.
3. Measures Relevant to Respective Fields
(1) Measures Relevant to Respective Fields
Measures relevant to respective fields are listed up in Attachment 3.
(2) Expediting Conclusions by Councils
Conclusions of councils deliberating matters relevant to the measures shall be expedited; as a rule, conclusions shall be submitted before the end of September 1999. In case councils are unable to submit their conclusions prior to the said date, they shall release interim reports outlining the progress of their deliberations and, as a rule, shall submit their final conclusions prior to the end of February 2000.
4. Methods for Promoting the Deregulation Programme
(1) Revising the Programme
This Deregulation Programme shall be revised toward the end of fiscal 1999 after taking into consideration comments and requests received both at home and abroad between November 1, 1998 and October 31, 1999, as well as the surveillance results of the Deregulation Committee of the Headquarters for Promoting Administrative Reform. In the process of revision, Ministries and Agencies release interim reports on the progress of the revision work in early 2000
With regard to the comments and requests received at home and abroad, responsible Ministries and Agencies shall clarify the need and the justifications if they draw conclusions to continue existing regulations. The Management and Coordination Agency shall get together and release these clarifications.
In order to promote deregulatory measures that would contribute to improving market access, functions of OTO (Office of Trade and Investment Ombudsman) shall be actively utilised.
(2) Monitoring of the Programme
Measures prescribed in this Deregulation Programme shall be promoted actively and the progress in the implementation of the Programme shall be monitored. The results of the monitoring shall be reported to the Deregulation Committee of the Headquarters for Promoting Administrative Reform and made public.
(3) Quantitative Analysis of the Impact of Deregulation
The Economic Planning Agency shall actively undertake and publish quantitative analyses of such economic impact of deregulation as the impact on demand stimulation, improvement in productivity and price stabilisation in order to deepen the understanding of the public in deregulation.
(4) White Paper on Deregulation
The Management and Coordination Agency shall, in cooperation with other Ministries and Agencies, produce and publish a White Paper on Deregulation without delay in order to provide information with the general public in a easily understandable way on the current state of government regulations, progress of deregulation, outlines of the Deregulation Programme, impact and effects of deregulation on the general public, etc.
(5) Surveillance Activities of the Deregulation Committee of the Headquarters for Promoting Administrative Reform
The Deregulation Committee of the Headquarters for Promoting Administrative Reform shall promote deregulation through its surveillance activities on the implementation of the measures incorporated in the Programme and by addressing new issues and challenges.
The administrative offices concerned shall cooperate with the Deregulation Committee. The function of Administrative Inspection shall be actively utilised.
(6) International Perspectives
Ministries and Agencies shall seek to gain international perspectives by actively and continuously gathering information through the Internet and other means regarding how the government agencies of other countries are administering matters corresponding to their respective jurisdictions. Efforts shall be made to make available to the public the information thus gathered. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall endeavour to utilise its overseas missions to gather and analyse a wide range of information concerning government regulations in other countries.
5. Measures Related to the Promotion of Deregulation
(1) Promoting Fair and Free Competition
Competition policy as well as deregulation shall be actively enforced as prescribed below in order to promote fair and free competition.
(a) Continued efforts shall be made to strengthen the enforcement of the Anti-monopoly Law, including the reinforcement of the Fair Trade Commission's investigative functions. Strict and vigorous measures shall be taken against price cartels, bid rigging and other types of violations of the Anti-monopoly Law, including accusing for criminal prosecution.
In order to maintain a fair competitive market environment following deregulation, strict and prompt action shall be taken against unfair business practices, such as practices imposing an unjust disadvantage on small and medium-sized enterprises. Similarly, strict and prompt action shall be taken against misleading advertising and representations leading consumers to misunderstand the quality or contents of goods or services offered, and thereby preventing consumers from making proper choices.
(b) In order to promote fair and free competition among businesses both at home and abroad and thereby maintain consumers' interests from the viewpoint of competition policy and promoting deregulation, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) shall actively advocate competition policy by (i) conducting surveys and making necessary proposals regarding the business areas where entry is restricted by supply-and-demand balancing regulations and other regulations, (ii) conducting surveys on the post-deregulation conditions, raising necessary proposals, and (iii) supporting voluntary compliance with the Anti-monopoly Law on the part of businesses regarding the business areas where entry regulations have been relaxed. In addition, exemptions of the Anti-monopoly Law shall be reduced to a necessary minimum.
The FTC shall also conduct surveys, from the viewpoint of competition policy, on the entry regulations instituted by local governments, make proposals and undertake appropriate coordination with administrative agencies concerned, as necessary.
(c) In accordance with the purport of the "Anti-monopoly Law Guidelines regarding Administrative Guidance", Ministries and Agencies concerned shall make necessary consultations in advance with the Fair Trade Commission to ensure that government regulations are not replaced by anti-competitive administrative guidance after deregulation.
(2) Dealing with Non-governmental Restrictions in the Private Sector
With regard to non-governmental restrictions in the private sector, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) shall take strict measures against violations of the Anti-monopoly Law in accordance with the provisions of the law. The FTC shall also conduct fact-finding surveys on such restrictions and seek to correct private practices that restrict competition. In cases where such business practices are employed based on competition-restricting administrative guidance, the FTC and the Ministries and Agencies concerned shall promptly undertake a review of such guidance. Where there is no administrative intervention, the Ministries and Agencies concerned shall make widely known the fact of their non-intervention and endeavour to clarify the source of the restriction.
(3) Perspective of "Regulatory Reform"
In addition to the active implementation of competition policy for more use of market mechanism, in accordance with the progress of deregulation, as outlined under paragraphs (1) and (2) above, due attention shall be paid to the importance of integrated approaches to deregulation, namely: introducing new general rules in accordance with the transition from ex ante approvals to ex post monitoring, instituting principles of information disclosure new systems of consumer policy that would contribute to establishing the principles of self responsibility.
(4) Expectations of Active Roles by Local Governments
It is essential that deregulation be promoted at local levels as well as at the national level; local governments shall be expected to play active roles in promoting deregulation in accordance with the purport of the Programme. Where necessary, the national government shall study and review regulations that are independently enforced by local governments as well as those based on national laws and ordinances, while paying due respect to the principles of local autonomy and decentralisation.
(5) Promoting Computerisation of Public Administration
In accordance with the accelerated pace of computerisation and use of information technology, both domestically and internationally, such as the rapid spread of Internet users, development of electronic commerce, etc., it is essential to reduce the burdens on the public arising from administrative procedures and to improve the efficiency of clerical works. In pursuit of these objectives, continued efforts shall be made to promote computerisation of filings and application procedures, wider adoption of "paper-less" filing and preservation of documents in electronic form, based upon the "Basic Plan for the Computerisation of Government Administration" (Revised Plan: Cabinet Decision on December 20, 1997) and the "Basic Policies for the Promotion of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Based Society" (approved by the Headquarters for the Promotion of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Based Society, as revised on November 9, 1998).
Prompt steps shall be taken toward realising "one-stop services" by utilising the Internet for providing explanations and guidance on administrative procedures, access to application forms, and on-line filings.
Ministries and Agencies shall, while working to create comprehensive and trans-sector networks encompassing the whole public sector including Ministries and Agencies and local governments, promote integration of procedures and improve efficiency in processing.
(6) Moving to a System Emphasising Ex Post Monitoring and a more Active Role for the Judiciary
As the government moves toward a system of ex post facto monitoring, efforts shall be made to slim down systems pertaining to direct government regulations such as licensing, permissions and approvals. Efforts shall be made also to change over to a system focusing on the establishing of explicit and clear rules and surveillance of compliance with these rules.
In accordance with growing expectations of the roles of the judiciary, it is highly expected that the judiciary will actively study and review its current arrangements in order to take appropriate actions.
Review of Certified Qualification Systems
With a Focus on Qualifications with Functional Monopoly
1. Implementation of Reviews
Government certified qualification systems exist to safeguard the rights, safety and sanitary standards of the public, to ensure fairness in transactions, to improve the standards, ethical or otherwise, of qualified persons, and to assure the quality of services rendered to the public by qualified persons certified under rigorous discipline based on law. On the other hand, these systems restrict the entry of individuals into certain markets through functional monopolies, restrictions on the number of newly certified persons, and rules of eligibility for taking examinations. These systems could have a major negative impact if the restriction of new entrants and exclusion of non-certified persons from the market serve to eliminate competition from the services being rendered.
In light of this fact and based on the Deregulation Committee's First Report on Deregulation (December 15, 1998), the Ministries and Agencies concerned shall, in the course of the Three-Year Programme for Promoting Deregulation, undertake to review and examine the issues mentioned under Section 2 below and to implement appropriate measures based on the conclusions of these studies.
Particular attention shall be paid to systems in which non-certified persons are barred by laws and ordinances from rendering certain services and activities (hereafter referred to as "functional monopoly qualifications, etc.").
In undertaking these reviews, Ministries and Agencies shall pay due attention to the fact that the Deregulation Committee of the Headquarters for Promoting Administrative Reform will be conducting, parallel to the reviews undertaken by the Ministries and Agencies, its own reviews that also cover requirements for compulsory placement of certified personnel and monopoly use of functional titles. Whenever necessary, the Ministries and Agencies shall cooperate in full with the Deregulation Committee.
2. Standards and Viewpoints of Reviews
To provide for greater convenience of the public and to stimulate competition in the services rendered, the Ministries and Agencies concerned shall review functional monopoly qualifications, etc. coming under their respective jurisdictions in accordance with the standards and viewpoints indicated below. These reviews shall cover the current rules of functional monopolies, qualification standards and functional boundaries, and shall examine the possibility of the abolition of functional monopolies or replacement by requirements for compulsory placement of certified personnel or monopoly use of functional titles.
(1) Functional boundaries defined excessively narrow shall be reviewed, and the possibility of cross-entry among various qualifications shall be examined.
With regard to activities of certified persons which can be properly handled by persons certified in adjoining professions etc., the possibility of allowing the entry into the services by other professions shall be examined as a means to lowering the barriers of the boundaries.
(2) The following qualification systems shall be reviewed with the possibility of their abolition.
- - Qualifications for activities not requiring expert knowledge that could be conducted by non-certified persons
- - Qualifications that can be acquired without examination or other specific requirements
- - Qualifications with extremely high examination success ratios or course completion ratios
- - Qualifications with a very small number of annually certified persons as a result, for example, of their social utility having been exhausted
- - Qualifications which in principle require success in examination, but which are almost exclusively granted to persons acquiring the qualifications by means other than examination as allowed under special provisions
- - Qualifications for which similar private-sector qualifications exist
- - Qualifications with extremely high examination success ratios or course completion ratios
(3) Examinations shall be administered for all qualifications required by law to be based on success in examinations.
(4) The abolition of such requirements of eligibility for taking examinations as lacking clear or rational justification shall be examined.
(5) Previous experience as a prerequisite for examination eligibility, and compulsory training and course work after success in examination shall be reviewed so that these requirements do not function as barriers to entry without justifiable reasons.
(6) Justifications of physical handicaps as cause for unconditional ineligibility shall be examined.
(7) Special provisions and standards of certification pertaining to eligibility for taking examinations and acquisition of certification shall be put in writing and published.
(8) Restrictions on the number of successful candidates shall be reviewed to ensure that this practice does not function as a barrier to entry.
(9) The possibility of integrating various related or similar qualifications shall be examined. Additionally, the possibility of combining or exempting their examinations and course work, or exempting their course requirements shall be examined.
(10) Standards for success in examination shall be published.
(11) Various methods, such as those indicated below, shall be examined as a means to facilitating the acquisition of certification.
- - Promoting an examination system in which candidates are allowed to accumulate subjects they have passed.
- - Exempting candidates from taking examinations in subjects for which they have previously achieved passing scores.
- - Promoting the publication of examination questions and allowing candidates to take home their examination questions.
(12) The grounds for estimating examination fees shall be examined.
(13) From the viewpoint of maintaining fair and effective competition, practices concerning registration and admission to members' association shall be reviewed.
(14) From the viewpoint of maintaining fair and effective competition and rationality, provisions related to remuneration shall be reviewed.
(15) From the viewpoint of maintaining fair and effective competition and rationality, restrictions on advertising shall be reviewed.
(16) The justification of periods of validity and compulsory participation in periodical training courses shall be reviewed.
Note: The above reviews shall be undertaken in accordance with Chapter 2 Section 2 (3): "Principles Pertaining to Standards and Viewpoints of Reviews" contained in the First Report on Deregulation by the Deregulation Committee of the Headquarters for Promoting Administrative Reform.
Review of Systems of Standards/Specifications
The systems of standards/specifications and inspection/certification consist of various standards provided by law pertaining to the manufacturing of products and the structure and installation of equipment and facilities. Mining and manufactured products and facilities and equipment must satisfy the pertinent standards for the purpose of safeguarding the life, body and property of people, as well as for achieving various policy objectives, such as preventing accidents, improving efficiency and rationalisation of production and consumption, etc. In addition, the standards specify the procedures for certification of compliance.
Given the increasing globalisation of economic activities, the current systems of standards/certification exert a major impact on activities of corporation and consumers by raising costs and narrowing the range of available choices. Hence, it is important to pay due attention to minimising the impact, which is arising from the introduction and administration of standards/certification systems, on these kinds of activities. However, this must be done without undermining the original intent of the system to safeguard life, body and property of people and to achieve various policy objectives.
The Three-Year Program for Promoting Deregulation decided upon by the Cabinet in March 1998 states that the current systems of standards /certification must be reviewed in accordance with the following four basic objectives:
(1) Direct government intervention should be minimised through transition to self-confirmation and third-party certification;
(2) Competitive market principles should be introduced in the field of certification and inspection;
(3) Performance-based standards should be introduced where appropriate; and
(4) Mutual recognition arrangements should be promoted.
In undertaking these reviews, the Government shall pay particular attention to the following points, and shall promote the review process with the goal of completing the reviews of standards/certification systems before the end of fiscal 2000, the last year of the current Three-Year Programme for Promoting Deregulation. The Ministries and Agencies shall, in undertaking the reviews, take notice that the Deregulation Committee of the Headquarters for Promoting Administrative Reform is responsible for monitoring the progress in the implementation of the Three-Year Programme for Promoting Deregulation, including matters related to standards/certification systems. In short, the Ministries and Agencies shall review standards/certification in full cooperation with the Deregulation Committee.
1. Reviewing the Scope of Standards/Certification under the Jurisdiction of the National Government
The policy objectives of the standards/certification systems cover a wide range of areas, including the securing of safety and the achievement of greater efficiency in transactions. Taking into account the socio-economic importance of these objectives in times of a disaster or accidents, some of these objectives cannot be achieved without the intervention of the national government. On the other hand, partly because of technological developments, other objectives do not necessarily require a government-operated system of standards/certification. Instead, these objectives could be achieved through independent efforts of businesses, such as for acquiring the confidence in the market.
Therefore, it is necessary to re-examine standards/certification systems to determine whether or not continued intervention by the national government is truly required. This calls for a thorough and comprehensive review to be undertaken with a view to reducing the scope of administrative intervention to a minimum necessary level.
2. Transition to a System Based on Self-Confirmation and Self-Maintenance
A. Self-Confirmation, Self-Maintenance and Third-Party Certification
Even when continued government intervention is justified as necessary in the above-mentioned reviews, a further round of re-examination should be undertaken in the interest of promoting greater administrative efficiency and reducing the cost to businesses. Specifically, thought should be given to a system in which the role of the government is restricted to the establishment of standards, the surveillance of compliance, and the creation of appropriate safety net mechanisms, and thereafter allowing the system to operate under the principles of self-confirmation and self-maintenance. Next, even in such instances when a system dependent on self-confirmation and self-maintenance alone may not be appropriate, the immediate response should not be to institute compulsory inspection by the government or government-designated inspection/certification organisations acting in proxy of the government. Rather, full consideration should be given to the possibility of introducing a system based on self-confirmation and self-maintenance with provisions for compulsory inspection by a fair and neutral third party body (third-party certification), in view of current international rules.
In instances where it is inappropriate to uniformly apply the principles of self-confirmation, self-maintenance and third-party certification to all of the participants in the business, introduction of a "merit system" should be positively considered, whereby a system of self-confirmation, self-maintenance or third-party certification are selectively permitted to businesses with outstanding past records. Any system based on self-confirmation and self-maintenance is predicated on the disclosure of adequate information to consumers and other market participants. For this reason, it is expected that businesses as well as administrative agencies will undertake efforts to promote the greater disclosure of information.
B. Government and Government-Proxy Organisations (Designated Inspection/Certification Organisations)
Regarding standards/certification for which a system based on self-confirmation and self-maintenance remains inappropriate notwithstanding the above-mentioned examinations, it would be unavoidable that direct government intervention and the designation of inspection organisations to act in proxy of the government are in place, although it is necessary to continue to seek the possibility of introducing a system based on self-confirmation and self-maintenance in the coming future. In addition, efforts shall be made to utilise, as far as possible, private organisations for this purpose. Activities of inspection/certification shall be allowed to private business corporations other than those non-profit organisations based on civil code etc.
3. International Harmonisation of Standards, Introducing Performance-based Standards, and the Eliminating the Duplication of Inspection
The contents of standards should be formulated so that they do not bring in such negative impacts as excess burdens on businesses involved in international activities and reduction in the scope of choices available to consumers of foreign products.
The contents of standards shall be determined not only from the viewpoint of the policy objectives each standard is designed to achieve, but shall also take into consideration the reduction of the burden on businesses and consumers that can be achieved through greater conformity with international standards. More specifically, in areas where ISO and other international standards already exist, efforts shall be made to harmonise Japanese standards with these existing international standards after verifying the appropriateness of these standards. In areas where international standards do not yet exist, efforts shall be made to promote the adoption of Japanese standards as international standards. Likewise, efforts shall be made to promote the acceptance of overseas data and international mutual recognition. The contents of standards must be such as to permit a flexible response to technological innovation. In pursuit of this objective, due consideration shall be given to the possibility of, as a rule, re-defining all standards currently defined in terms of specifications and replacing these with performance-based standards.
In cases of inspection involving two or more standards, measures shall be taken to eliminate the duplication of similar inspection items in order to reduce the burden on businesses.
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