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[September 2018]

FY2017 Summary of "Consumer Trouble Mail Box"

NCAC has a data collecting section on its website titled "Consumer Trouble Mail Box" (hereinafter called "Trouble Mail Box") set up in April 2002 in order to promptly grasp the actual status of consumer damage and to prevent the occurrence of similar problems. The following show the outline of information received through the Trouble Mail Box in FY2017 and noticeable cases for which the follow-up survey was conducted.

Transition in the number of reports by fiscal year

The number of reports received in FY2017 was 10,245, representing an increase from 9,387 in FY2016. The average number of reports per day was about 28.

Traffic to "Trouble Mail Box"

The traffic to the top page of "Trouble Mail Box" amounted to 129,708, which showed about a 4.9% decrease over the previous fiscal year.

Nature of senders


Males accounted for nearly 60% (males: 59.3%, females: 40.7%). Contrary to the previous fiscal year, the percentage of females slightly increased in FY2017.


Senders in their 30s (26.0%) and 40s (34.8%) accounted for about 60%. The percentage of those in their 20s slightly decreased. In comparison with contract signatories related to inquiries/complaints sent to local consumer affairs centers, etc. across Japan (data gathered by PIO-NET), senders in their 30s and 40s are nearly double in number while senders in their 60s and older are about one quarter. The tendency was similar to that of the previous fiscal year.


The percentage of "salary earners" and "independent business, freelance" slightly decreased and the percentage of "unemployed" and "homemakers" slightly increased. The overall trend in FY2017 was similar to that in the past. In comparison with contract signatories related to inquiries / complaints sent to local consumer affairs centers, etc. across Japan (data gathered by PIO-NET), the percentage of "salary earners" was about 1.3 times larger and that of "independent business, freelance" was about 2.8 larger.

Access time

According to the three hour breakdown of posting time, the number of those who posted during 9:00-17:59 weekdays, i.e. business hours and the number of those who posted other time were almost equal. There was just a slight difference in number of posting in every three hours during 9:00-23:59. About 9% of the senders posted between midnight and early morning (0:00-5:59). The data show a certain need for 24-hour possibility of sending information.

Tendency of information received in FY2017

Due to the nature of online data collection system, "Trouble Mail Box" generally tends to receive much information concerning ICT or internet shopping in usual years. Information received in FY2017 was further characterized by reports on billing fraud by those pretending to be with major online shopping sites, public authorities, etc. Trouble Mail Box frequently received reports on regular purchase of health foods or cosmetics, and those on information for sale advertised as know-how to easily earn money. In addition, several reports on ESTA* application service were received.

  1. * ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

Noticeable cases in FY2017 for which follow-up survey was conducted

"Trouble Mail Box" also received information on troubles which could lead to spread of consumer damage as well as information related to new products and new types of tricks. Concerning such information, NCAC conducts follow-up survey of information providers and related businesses (See press releases in the section of News).

Information provision to the Consumer Affairs Agency

"Trouble Mail Box" received information on harmful incidents when using products / services as well as physical risks felt by consumers when using products/services. Serious accidents under Article 12 of the Consumer Safety Act (incidents of death or serious injuries / diseases which required medical treatment of 30 days or more), and incidents which could cause serious accidents (so called "close call incidents") are immediately notified to the Consumer Affairs Agency. In FY2017, NCAC notified the Consumer Affairs Agency of 5 serious accidents and 54 close call incidents.