Japan Press Weekly
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Administration of consumer affairs should be devoted to protection of consumers
Akahata Editorial (Excerpts)
Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuofs cabinet on June 27 approved the basic plan for promoting administration of consumer affairs that includes the creation of a new gConsumer Agencyh in fiscal 2009 based on his slogan, gFrom the viewpoint of consumers and ordinary people.h
The government must give consumer protection priority because consumers are always in a weak position regarding the information they have for judging goods and services and with regard to the power for negotiation.
In creating the Consumer Agency, it is necessary to break away from the past policy of easing regulations in defense of business interests. The need now is to protect consumersf interests.
At the same time, in addition to a realignment of ministries including the establishment of a new agency, it is necessary to develop the functions of the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan and drastically strengthen consumer consultation services at local municipalities, which are familiar to ordinary people.
The basic plan is still not enough
The basic plan for the promotion of consumer administration defines that local governments should be in charge of consumers and provide their own personnel and budget, because the regional administration of consumer affairs is a matter to be dealt with by local government. The plan, however, only asked the government to make efforts to establish the finance base. Regarding relief measures for victims, the plan only stated that the agency would make further examinations for legal steps.
A recommendation issued last year by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) called for member states to create a relief system for victims that includes depriving companies of illicit proceeds and returning money to victims.
The Japanese government should immediately install an effective scheme in accordance with the OECD recommendation. - Akahata, July 18, 2008
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