Describes standards, identifies the national standards, accreditation bodies, and lists the national testing organization(s) and conformity assessment bodies.
Business entities manufacturing or selling products in Japan are subject to various laws and product safety standards, which vary depending upon the industry or product segment. Market-driven product and service standards are also prevalent.
Japan’s national standardization body is the Japan Industrial Standards Committee (JISC), which plays a central role in standards activities in Japan, covering a wide range of products and technologies. JISC:
- establishes and maintains Japan Industrial Standards (JIS);
- administers accreditation and certification;
- participates in international standards activities, including work with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC); and
- develops measurement standards and technical infrastructure for standardization
Existing JIS standards are reviewed and revised every five years. Once a new or revised draft JIS standard has been prepared, JISC posts these draft standards for a sixty-day public comment period. The JISC website also provides information regarding how foreign entities may participate in the JIS drafting process. A list of newly published JIS standards can be found on the website of the Japan Standards Association (JSA). Newly established or revised standards are also listed by METI, here.
The voluntary Japan Industrial Standards (JIS) mark, administered by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), applies to nearly  different industrial product categories and consists of over 10,773 standards as of March 2019. Adherence to JIS is also an important determinant for companies competing on bids in the Japanese government procurement process. Products that comply with these standards will be given preferential treatment in procurement decisions under Japan’s Industrial Standardization Law. JIS covers industrial and mineral products with the exception of: 1) medicines; 2) agricultural chemicals; 3) chemical fertilizers; and 4) foodstuffs, agricultural and forest products designated under the Law Concerning Standardization and Proper Labeling of Agricultural and Forestry Products.
The Japan Agricultural Standards (JAS) is another voluntary but widely used product standard system administered by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). The Council for Agricultural and Forestry Standards, a JAS Council consisting of consumers, manufacturers, commercial users, and academic experts, establishes JAS’s standards. Existing JAS Standards are reviewed every five years by each JAS Council.
JAS certification is a complicated process requiring approval by a Registered (Overseas) Certified Body (ROCB). There are only four approved ROCB for forest products and three for organic products. The current list of approved ROCBs can be found on the MAFF.
More information on the JAS labeling system can be found at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).
Testing, Inspection and Certification
Under the JIS mark scheme, product certification bodies accredited by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) conduct tests to verify compliance of products with JIS and audit the quality management system of facilities at which the products are manufactured. Any products manufactured at a factory that successfully passes such an audit will be authorized to affix the JIS mark. Additional information on this process can be found on the JISC website, here.
The two major non-governmental accreditation bodies in Japan are the International Accreditation Japan (IAJapan) - within the quasi-governmental National Institute of Technology and Evaluation and the Japan Accreditation Board (JAB). IAJapan operates several accreditation programs including the Japan National Laboratory Accreditation System (JNLA) and the Japan Calibration Service System (JCSS). A list of laboratories accredited by JAB is available on the JAB website.
A limited number of testing laboratories in the U.S., not listed on the websites noted above, have also been designated by various Japanese government agencies to test and approve U.S. products for compliance with Japanese mandatory certification standards and laws. Products not covered by these arrangements must be tested and approved by Japanese testing labs before these products can be sold in Japan.
For registered conformity assessment bodies recognized by Japan for electrical appliances, or for other information on third-party conformity assessment for electrical products, visit METI.
Publication of Technical Regulations
Each Japanese ministry posts draft regulations for public comment on their respective websites. These draft regulations can also be found in a consolidated list, available in Japanese, on the e-Gov Portal. The website was designed to help facilitate public participation in Japan’s regulatory process by improving the public’s ability to find, view, and comment on regulatory actions. It should be noted that although U.S. entities may submit comments on draft regulations, the amount of time given for submissions varies widely and all comments must be submitted in Japanese. Finalized technical regulations and standards are published in Japan’s national gazette known as the Kanpo (Japanese only).
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