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Message from the President

Welcome to the website of the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan (NCAC).

Message from the President

30 years of "Heisei"

In Japan, the Heisei era will end soon and the new era "Reiwa" will start in May 2019. Next year, NCAC will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Therefore, the Heisei era accounts for 60 percent of NCAC's history.

When the Heisei era started, Japan was in the middle of bubble economy. The bubble period was followed by the development and spread of the Internet and smartphones, a rise in consumer detriment suffered by the elderly that increased faster than the speed of population aging, and the internationalization of consumer issues due to a growth in inbound tourists and cross-border electronic transactions. Regarding property or financial damage, problems related to undeveloped land sales and variable insurance gained social attention in the early days of the Heisei era. Recently, fraudulent businesses are getting more and more sophisticated. They seek to exploit three major concerns of the elderly (money, health and isolation), for instance in rental owner business. There are also many consumers who suffered from secondary damage related to undeveloped land sales.

In response to these changing circumstances, NCAC has provided wide-ranging information on consumer affairs, and has reorganized the scope of operations with addition. As ever, NCAC will keep an eye out for and respond promptly to consumer safety issues.

Renewal of PIO-NET

PIO-NET is a database that collects information on inquiries concerning consumer affairs by linking NCAC with local consumer affairs centers across Japan via an online network. The database grows by about 900,000 consultation cases per year. The use of the database helps to provide prompt and effective consultation. The database is also used as basic data for formulating consumer policies, lawmaking and law enforcement. Therefore, PIO-NET is a sort of neural system for consumer affairs administration.

A big issue in this fiscal year is the renewal of PIO-NET. Firstly, a name matching feature will be added to PIO-NET to correct name variations of a business operator if any. Use of this feature reduces data input workload, improves the accuracy of data, and enhances the support for law enforcement. Secondly, the system and security of PIO-NET will be enhanced. Data center storage will be more robust and resilient to reduce risks of data loss or leakage and to prepare for large-scale natural disasters.

Moreover, NCAC is looking to apply artificial intelligence and other new technologies to PIO-NET in the future.

Consumer education for young people

The age of adulthood will be lowered to 18 on April 1, 2022. To prepare for the change, the Consumer Education Promotion Council publicized "Status report and recommendations from Young Consumer Education Subcommittee" in June 2018. In response, "Action program for promoting young consumer education" was amended in July 2018 based on a decision made by a liaison conference among four relevant ministries and agencies for promoting young consumer education. The action plan requests NCAC to provide educational training courses for those who educate young consumers.

In this regard, the action plan recommends NCAC to provide consumer education training sessions during the teaching certificate renewal course. From this fiscal year, NCAC are conducting the trainers training in cooperation with some universities.

Information access by young people

Last year, NCAC's website was substantially renewed to create an optimized view for smartphones. In March 2019, NCAC produced and shared online educational videos to help protect consumers from dating sales tactics. Main victims of the tactics have been young people in their 10s and 20s. The videos, which show simulated scenes of dating sales, have been accessed by many individuals and received well. NCAC would like to catch up with social trends to better inform young consumers through effective channels.

Different channels of consultation

NCAC provides consultation service through several channels: telephone consultation for residents in Japan, e-mail consultation for those in trouble with overseas businesses (Cross-border Consumer Center Japan), telephone consultation for inbound tourists with use of interpretation service through a three way call system (Consumer Hotline for Tourists). The Consumer Hotline for Tourists, which was launched last year, needs to be further disseminated, and NCAC is aiming to offer the service in more languages (currently offered in English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese).

Last but not least, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to consumers, consumer associations, businesses, business associations, administrative officials, researchers and specialists, who assist and cooperate with NCAC. Thank you.

Photo of Mr. Matsumoto, President

Profile of the President

Name

Tsuneo Matsumoto

Positions held / Awards

April 2015
Professor Emeritus at Hitotsubashi University
October 2014
Member, the Science Council of Japan / Leader, the Law Committee
August 2013
President, the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan, Incorporated Administrative Agencies
May 2013
Prime Minister's Commendation for contributors to consumer support
November 2012 - July 2013
Leader, the Consumer ADR Committee, the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan
January 2012 - December 2013
Chair, the Consumer Damage Relief Committee of Tokyo Metropolitan Government
November 2010
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award for Industrial Standardization
November 2009 - February 2015
Member, the Civil Code Subcommittee (related to claims), the Legislative Council
September 2009 - August 2011
Chair, Consumer Commission, Cabinet Office
April 2009 - March 2011
Director, Hitotsubashi University School of Law
February 2009
Friendship Order awarded by the Vietnamese government
November 2008 - November 2014
Chair, the Japan Association for Consumer Law
February 2008 - June 2008
Member, the Council for Promoting Consumer Policy
February 2007 - March 2013
Chair, the Installment Sales Department, the Industrial Structure Council Chair, the Consumer Economy Division
October 2005 - August 2009
Chair, the Consumer Policy Committee of the Quality-of-life Policy Council
June 2005 - February 2007
Chair, the Consumer Economic Affairs Council
September 2003 - May 2012
Chair, the Council for Consumer Affairs of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government
January 2001 - November 2010
Bar examiner of the National Bar Examination (the second-stage of testing)
January 2001 - November 2009
Member, the Health Science Council
January 2001 - December 2009
Leader, the Special Committee on Consumer Policy, the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee
May 1997
Board Member, International Association for Consumer Law
April 1991
Professor, Faculty of Law, Hitotsubashi University
(Later, Professor at Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Law)
April 1987
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Osaka City University
April 1979
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Hiroshima University
April 1977
Teaching Assistant, Faculty of Law, Kyoto University
March 1977
Withdrawal from a doctoral course at the Graduate School of Law, Kyoto University
March 1974
Bachelor of Law, Kyoto University