Declaration for Realizing a Safe and Fair Society without Damage to Consumers
We, as consumers, are leading our daily lives purchasing goods and services. These goods and services are produced and provided by producers and business operators based on practices of contemporary society and market rules. For consumers to live without worry, the society composed of producers, business operators, consumers, and national and local governments, should be safe and fair without damage to consumers.
In contemporary society, our dependence on consumption is growing increasingly in our daily lives, but gaps in information and bargaining power between consumers and business operators definitely exist. In such a society, rights of consumers should be established and enhanced. Those rights include: (1) fundamental needs should be satisfied, (2) healthy living environments should be secured, (3) safety should be secured, (4) opportunities for autonomous and reasonable choice should be provided, (5) necessary information should be provided, (6) opportunities for education should be provided, (7) opinions should be reflected in consumer protection policies, and (8) if a consumer has been harmed, relief should be appropriately and promptly provided.
Furthermore, the role of consumers is becoming more and more important in contemporary society and consumers are encouraged to: (1) have critical sense, (2) appeal and act, (3) consider socially vulnerable people such as the needy, (4) consider the environment, and (5) cooperate.
Since the 1980s, regulations have been relaxed as political and economic policies and various products and services are now provided to consumers while damage and problems to consumers are increasing and getting severe and serious. The government has tried to deal with this situation by setting regulations which utilize market mechanisms and by establishing individual relief systems which strengthen after-the-fact check functions. However, these measures have not effectively prevented or solved the problems.
Thus the Consumer Affairs Agency and the Consumer Commission have been established in response to a full-scale movement to change society and the market from mainly producer and business operator driven to consumer driven. In this movement, the roles of consumers and consumer organizations are considered as more important than before. It is desired that producers and business operators, consumers, and the national and local governments cooperate while maintaining appropriate tension.
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) strives to realize a safe and fair society based on the respect of consumer rights and the autonomous participations of consumers.
- A society where safety and fairness in consumption are secured and faithful business operators and producers are supported by consumers’ consumption behaviors and social activities. In addition, a society where quality of business operators and producers are enhanced, and the market and society are improved.
- A society where appropriate regulations are precisely implemented: regulations which eliminate products and services harmful to consumers’ lives, bodies and/or important properties, regulations dealing with problems which cannot be solved in the market and regulations which enable the market to function properly.
- A society with various consumers where socially vulnerable people are protected, many consumers can consume and conduct social activities with a critical sense developed by consumer education etc. and consumer organizations and their networks can fully conduct their activities.
The JFBA aims to establish such “Consumer Citizenship” and urges the national and local governments to enhance regulations and systems for realizing consumers’ rights. Furthermore, the JFBA will play a positive role for establishing an environment in which opinions of consumers and consumer organizations are reflected in society.
The JFBA declares as above.
November 6, 2009
Japan Federation of Bar Associations