Strategic Deployment of Third-Party Conformity Assessment Schemes -Satoshi TSUZUKIBASHI, Director, Industrial Technology Bureau, Japan Business Federation (Keidanren)-

Strategic Deployment of Third-Party Conformity Assessment Schemes

< On the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of Japan Accreditation Board>

Industrial Technology Bureau,
Japan Business Federation (Keidanren)

We offer our hearty congratulations on the 20th Anniversary of the Japan Accreditation Board (JAB). This celebration of completing two decades,  is a launching pad for JAB towards, we believe, still more energetic activities.
The accreditation and certification schemes are not easy concepts for the general public to understand.  The certification scheme is for making a judgment whether the management, production and processes of a company are undertaken in conformity with predetermined criteria.  A certification body audits a company and makes this judgment; an accreditation body assesses certification bodies and accredits those that are competent to audit management systems and whose judgments can be trusted.  JAB is therefore in the position of the “general controller or big boss”, ensuring that those auditing the management processes and production activities of companies are competent to undertake audits against specified standards or criteria and provide assurance that can be relied on.

In contemporary society, the assurance of safety and security is an issue of the highest priority.  North Korean missiles and earthquakes/ tsunami are not the only threats to us.  One never knows what danger lurks in various products, food and services that affect our daily life.  It is rather the things that one buys in everyday life that one has to be particularly wary of.  For a company to have consumers believe that their products are safe and can be trusted, such products need to be accompanied by some kind of official assurance, which is what certification schemes provide.  Accreditation provides the assurance that those undertaking the certification are competent and the certificates they issue are reliable.

Among the endeavors that we expect of JAB, we are particularly interested in the following three:

Firstly, be a good judge.  We hope that JAB cultivates shrewd eyes to distinguish competent and reliable certification bodies from those that are less reliable when granting accreditation, so that it is said that: “It can’t go wrong with a certification body accredited by JAB and we need to be certified by such a body”.

Secondly, develop the capacity to become active in new fields.  There are indications that the aerospace industry is growing.  Another new field is cyber technology.  “Cyberattack” is now one of the big headaches of our society, and it is a very important issue for companies wanting to develop a manufacturing system that is robust against such attacks.  Cyber-related activities have also created new business sectors, such as cloud computing, and it has become important to ensure the reliability of the business operators themselves.

In a society with an aging population, combined with a diminishing number of children, Japanese companies will rely more and more on overseas markets for their continued existence.  Keidanren proposed, in its message of June 12, 2013, a “Request for an increase in the ODA budget for the promotion of international standardization”, to “establish and disseminate international standards under the leadership of Japan and to reinforce certification functions”.  In Germany, large scale certification bodies have been established that provide certification activities to foreign companies.  Japanese certification bodies have, however, been focused on domestic activities and have not developed the capacity to cover foreign companies.  However, if the Germans can, why not the Japanese?  We believe that it is important that accreditation bodies, certification bodies and companies get together on all three fronts and break ground in overseas markets.

After another twenty years, at the celebration of JAB's fortieth anniversary, we have high hopes of seeing JAB having become a highly respected and renowned presence, not only in Japan but also internationally.

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