Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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History of METI

METI has a long history from the postwar years of recovery to the present day.

METI has been transforming itself to respond to the needs of the times.
METI has a history of responding to the changing needs of society. Therefore, its history is the history of Japan's progress.

History surrounding METI Year History surrounding the world and Japan
Revival of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, establishment of the Trade Agency and the Coal Agency 1945 The United Nations was founded
Adoption of the Priority Production System 1946 Promulgation of the Japanese Constitution
The Japan Association of Corporate Executives and the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren) were founded
Establishment of the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency and the Industrial Technology Agency 1948  
Establishment of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry 1949 Adoption of the single exchange rate of 360 yen to the dollar
Mine Safety Law, Industrial Standardization Law Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka Stock Exchanges were founded
Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Act
Operation of Export Credit Insurance begins 1950  
Commodity Exchange Law, Explosives Control Law
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Law, Small and Medium Enterprise Credit Insurance Law
First Rationalization Plan for the Iron and Steel Industry 1951 Signature of Treaty of Peace with Japan and the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty
Measurement Law
Electric Power Development Promotion Law, Enterprise Rationalization Promotion Law 1952 Japan joins the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Inauguration of Japan Finance Corporation for Small and Medium Enterprise, Credit Guarantee Association Law 1953  
Gas Utility Industry Law 1954  
Atomic Energy Basic Law 1955 Japan formally joins the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)
Second Rationalization Plan for the Iron and Steel Industry 1956 Japan joins the United Nations
Law on the Prevention of Delay in the Payment of Subcontracting Charges and Related Matters "The postwar period is over" (as expressed in the Economic White Paper) becomes a catchphrase
Signature of Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration, diplomatic normalization
Patent Law, Utility Model Law, Design Law, Trademark Law 1959  
1960 The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded
Commerce and Industry Association Law
Installment Sales Law, Electrical Appliance and Material Control (Safety) Law 1961  
Household Goods Quality Labeling Act, Shopping District Promotion Association Law 1962  
Small and Medium Enterprise Basic Law 1963  
Industry Structure Council Launched 1964 Japan joins the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Electricity Utilities Industry Law Japan becomes an International Monetary Fund Article 8 nation
Liberalization of import of finished vehicles 1965 Japan and South Korea sign the Treaty on Basic Relations between the two countries
1967 The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded
The European Community (EC) is inaugurated
Basic Law on Consumer Protection, Air Pollution Control Law 1968  
Waste Disposal and Public Cleansing Law 1970 The Japan World Exposition is held
Water Pollution Control Law, Law on the Promotion of Subcontracting Small and Medium Enterprises
1971 Dollar (Nixon) Shock
  1972 Return of Okinawa, normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China
Establishment of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy 1973 First oil shock, Floating exchange rate system
Petroleum Supply and Demand Adjustment Act, Consumer Product Safety Law
Law on the Promotion of Small and Medium Retail Business
Sunshine Project (R&D project on new energy) 1974  
Oil Stockpiling Law 1975 The first summit was held
Very Large-Scale Integrated Circuit Project 1976  
Door-to-Door Sales Act (Specific Commercial Transactions Law)
Moonlight Project (R&D project on energy saving) 1978  
Act on the Rational Use of Energy 1979 Second oil shock
1980 Japan becomes the world's top automobile producer
Law concerning Promotion of the Development and Introduction of Alternative Energy Daiei becomes the first retailer to achieve annual sales of over 1 trillion yen
Voluntary regulation of auto exports to U.S. begins 1981  
Telecommunications Business Act 1984
Law for the Facilitation of Research in Key Technologies 1985 Plaza Accord
"Challenges and Prospects for Economic and Industrial Policy in the 21st Century" 1986 Maekawa Report
  1989 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is inaugurated
1990 Unification of East and West Germany
Law for Promotion of Effective Utilization of Resources 1991 Collapse of the Soviet Union
Signature of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 1992  
  1993 The Treaty on European Union comes into effect
Product Liability Act 1994  
Containers and Packaging Recycling Law, Science and Technology Basic Law 1995 The World Trade Organization (WTO) is inaugurated
  1996 Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is inaugurated
Adoption of the Kyoto Protocol 1997 Asian Currency Crisis
Law concerning the Measures by Large-Scale Retail Stores for Preservation of Living Environment 1998  
Act on Improvement and Vitalization in City Centers
Guideline of Measures to Global Warming
Act on Special Measures for Industrial Revitalization, Civil Rehabilitation Act 1999 European single currency "euro" is born
Basic Act on the Promotion of Core Manufacturing Technology
Basic guideline for a global warming countermeasures
Basic Act for Establishing a Sound Material-Cycle Society, Alcohol Business Law 2000  
MITI was reorganized to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) 2001 Reorganization of government ministries into 1 cabinet and 12 ministries
The first Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Singapore goes into effect 2002 Nippon Keidanren is inaugurated
End-of-Life Vehicles Recycling Law, Basic Act on Energy Policy Act
Corporate Rehabilitation Law, Intellectual Property Basic Act
Industrial Revitalization Corporation of Japan launched 2003 Japan filed the second largest number of international patent applications
"New Industry Promotion Strategy" 2004  
Kyoto Protocol Target Achievement Plan 2005 The Kyoto Protocol comes into effect
The Monodzukuri Nippon Grand Award Awards begins The first East Asia Summit (EAS) is held
Companies Act Japan holds the Exposition of Global Harmony
"New Economic Growth Strategy", "Outline of Economic Growth Strategy" 2006  
"Cool Earth 50" 2007  
Act on Formation and Development of Regional Industrial Clusters through Promotion of Establishment of New Business Facilities, etc.
"Cool Earth Promotion Program" 2008 Price of gasoline reaches a record high amid skyrocketing oil prices,
Revision of New Economic Growth Strategy Subprime crisis
Act on Promotion of Collaboration between Agriculture, Commerce, and Industry

    Establishment of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry

    In 1949, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry was reorganized and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry was established.
    Its internal subdivisions consisted of eight bureaus: Minister’s Secretariat, Trade Bureau, Trade Promotion Bureau, Enterprise Trade Bureau, Textile Trade Bureau, General Merchandise Trade Bureau, Machinery Trade Bureau, Chemical Trade Bureau, and Iron and Steel Trade Bureau.
    In addition, four agencies, Resources Agency, Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, Industrial Technology Agency, and Patent Office; eight regional trade and industry bureaus; and four regional coal bureaus were established as external subdivisions.

    1949 : Road to Industrial Rationalization

    After the defeat in the war, the technological level of Japan's industry lagged far behind that of the U.S. and Europe after a decade-long hiatus in exposure to overseas technologies. Japan’s industry was unable to stand on its own feet in the international market. Successful recovery depended on "industrial rationalization", namely "technology innovation". The Industrial Rationalization Council was established in 1949 to undertake rationalization of the iron and steel and coal-mining sectors. In 1952, METI and the Ministry of Finance jointly enacted the Enterprise Rationalization Promotion Law, which would play a major role in subsequent modernization.

    1960 : Steps toward Free Trade

    Japan began to see a favorable balance of payments after its accession to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1955, which resulted in mounting international pressure on Japan to liberalize its markets. In 1960, the Japanese government adopted the "Outline of the Trade and Exchange Liberalization Plan", which was aimed at increasing the liberalization rate from about 40% to 90% in three years. Japan’s liberalization rate increased to 89% in 1963. Japan then joined the OECD and Japan's economy began operating under the open regime. This led to the liberalization of the import of vehicles in 1965.

    1967 : Overcoming Negative Aspects of Industrial Growth

    In the beginning of the 1960s, Japan’s economy began to grow due to industrial development through technological innovation and productivity improvements. However, economic growth caused social problems such as pollution and environmental destruction. Factories released hazardous substances into the water and air, thereby posing a threat to people’s health and lives. The Japanese government enacted and enforced the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control in 1967. The Law concerning the Settlement of Environmental Pollution Disputes and the Water Pollution Control Law were enacted in 1970. In the same year, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry established the Industrial Location and Environmental Protection Bureau to launch full-scale efforts to overcome environmental pollution problems.

    1971 : Direction of Japan's New Economy in the 1970s

    The strong yen resulting from the Dollar (Nixon) Shock (1973) and the strong yen caused by the 1974 oil shock were major blows to the iron and steel and chemical industries that had undergone expansion in the 1960s. Japan was forced to make a major turn around in its industrial structure. A few years before that, the Industrial Structure Council announced the "Creation of 1970s Vision". The council correctly predicted the beginning of a new era, when it said that "we are in a new situation in which Japan’s rapidly grown economy and the world economy are inseparably related. This is an unprecedented situation" and proposed the "concept of a knowledge based economy", a new industrial structure policy based on the understanding that "constant pursuit of expansion is a thing of the past".

    1980 : Moving on from the Catching up and Modernization Era

    The Industrial Structure Council submitted a report "Creation of 1980s Vision" with a view to shifting to a new international trade policy based on the understanding that Japan had become an economic power accounting for 10% of the global economy and thus had to play a role commensurate with its power. Japan's manufacturing industries suffered rapid appreciation of the yen against the dollar following the Plaza Accord of 1985. However, a sharp increase in direct investments in East Asian countries led to the upgrading of industrial production in the region where labor costs were lower, thereby contributing to the high growth of East Asian economies (the "Miracle of East Asia").

    1990 : Local Issues Going Global

    As it threatens human security and natural ecosystems across borders, the climate change issue became increasingly prominent through the 1980s both among both advanced and developing countries. Internationally, the "Framework Convention on Climate Change" and the "Kyoto Protocol" were adopted in 1992 and 1997, respectively. Under the Protocol, advanced countries are required to reduce a certain amount of emissions from 2008 to 2012 with 1990 set as the base year. Japan is expected to make positive efforts, and continues to make various economic and technological proposals to the international community.

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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