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METI and BSI, the World’s Largest Standardization Organization, Concluded a Memorandum of Understanding to Strengthen the International Standardization Efforts To fortify Japan's ability to propose new standards items to international standardization organizations and develop international standards by the shortest proces

On March 2, 2017, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the British Standards Institution (BSI) concluded a memorandum of understanding in London to promote joint development and joint proposals of international standards items to international standardization organizations focusing on the service area and other emerging fields. This conclusion will help Japan develop the shortest process to developing international standards, thereby strengthening the international standardization activities to enhance Japan’s competitiveness.

1. Background and objectives

The world is currently facing a period of transition into the industrial structure called the fourth industrial revolution, and the targets of international standardization efforts, led by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), are expanding dramatically from goods to services and to social systems. As standardization contributes to making service quality visible to consumers and thereby further developing companies’ business overseas, and to preparing certain minimum guidelines in emerging industries and thereby promoting the formation of appropriate markets, standardization is expected to bring about a variety of economic ripple effects in broad areas.

To match the growing speed of innovation in various industries and address intense global competition in order to win in the race for developing new international standards, Japan needs to meet the demands for industrial standardization in the service area and other emerging fields. To this end, it is essential for Japan to further fortify the cooperative relationship with standardization organizations overseas.

Against this backdrop, METI and BSI, the world’s largest standardization organization, concluded a memorandum of understanding. Under the memorandum, both parties will advance cooperative projects, including those related to distribution services. Through this effort, METI will fundamentally strengthen Japan’s ability to propose new standards items to international standardization organizations and develop new standards.

Reference 1: Outline of BSI

BSI is a national standardization organization in the UK, formed in 1901 and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1929. BSI is broadly committed to the development and certification of standards in the service area and other emerging fields, and its global sales for 2015 was approximately 50 billion yen.

2. Outline of the memorandum

 The memorandum aims at the collaboration of METI and BSI in standardization activities, contributing to the expansion of markets for emerging industries, with services at the core, and other initiatives. Both parties specifically agreed on: information exchange for exploring new projects, development of a list of cooperative projects, joint development of and joint proposals for new international standards items, and cooperation in disseminating new standards.

3. Upcoming schedule

METI will call for new themes for standardization projects targeting the field of services around mid-March 2017.

Reference 2: Japan’s efforts for developing standards in the service area

  1. Housekeeping services
    • Japan standardized the requirements of businesses in the homemaker support service industry to demonstrate the safety of such services to users, e.g., approaches to communicating with users, management of room keys, and management of personal information. It started the operation of the certification system in February 16, 2017.
  2. Distribution services
    • Yamato Holdings Co., Ltd. and BSI collaboratively developed standards concerning refrigerated delivery services, and the standards were issued on February 28, 2017. To facilitate the international standardization efforts in the field of distribution systems in Japan, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and METI established a Liaison Council Concerning the Promotion of International Standardizations Efforts in Distribution Systems in Japan. By uniting the public and private sector efforts, Japan will encourage the expansion of markets for quality services for refrigerated delivery and the overseas business expansion of Japanese companies.
  3. Sharing economy
    • In November 2016, the Study Group for Sharing Economy formulated model guidelines for the sharing economy. In response to growing international discussions in the ISO, Japan will be promoting the efforts for standardization of the guidelines, with a view to developing a proposal for the international standardization of these currently domestic standards. Japan will aim to appropriately reflect Japan’s guidelines in international rules.
  4. Quality infrastructure for electricity (high quality operation and maintenance of thermal power infrastructure)
    • On November 30, 2016, taking advantage of the APEC Guidelines of Quality Power Infrastructure, Japan launched the effort to develop international standards concerning high quality operation and maintenance of thermal power infrastructure. In line with the development of such standards, to meet the needs in emerging and other countries, Japan has been holding discussions concerning measures for spreading its thermal power infrastructure technology through the utilization of the international standards at the Study Group for Digitalization of Power Infrastructures (E-Tech Study Group), which is organized by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.
  5. Initiatives by the Japanese Standards Association (JSA)
    • The Japanese Standards Association (JSA), Japanese Society for Quality Control, and Society for Serviceology will jointly lead the establishment of a Committee for Standardization of Services in April 2017. The committee members will consist of officials from related ministries and agencies, people from the industrial world, experts and consumers, and advance the development of policies concerning design, procedures for providing services, assessment methods, competency of service providers and other matters relevant to the service industry.

Release date

March 2, 2017

Division in Charge

International Standardization Division, Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau

Related website

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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