The Largest and Most Prominent Standards Development Organization
by Hiroo Wakai
In its more than 55-year history, the Japanese Standards Association has grown to meet the needs of Japanese industry. Now, in the
global economy, JSA is reaching out to work with all nations in
creating a better world through standards.
The Japanese Standards Association (JSA) was founded in 1945.
Since then, JSA has carried out its activities with a view to
encouraging the development of Japanese industry and economy,
raising the national standard of living and promoting national
welfare. Our mission is to develop and promote standardization
and the unification of standards in order to contribute to technological
innovation, improve production efficiency and heighten the quality
of living. For a summary of JSAs many projects, see the sidebar.
Nowadays, areas reflecting social needs such as consumer protection,
welfare for the aged and people with disabilities, and environmental
protection are given high priority in standards development in
Japan. One example of this stream is promotion of the basic principle
of universal design. The concept of universal design is that
products and environments should be designed so that all people
including the elderly and people with disabilities can use them
with ease. In order to realize this concept, the Japanese Industrial Standard Committee (JISC) set up an Ad Hoc Committee on Standardization for the
Elderly and People with Disabilities in 1998. The ad hoc committee
discussed what standardization policy is needed for this purpose
and produced a report giving policy recommendations for standardization.
Based on these recommendations, JSA is currently developing various
standards in this field.
JSAs Management Systems Enhancement Department is accredited
as a registration body that assesses and registers organizations
to the ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 series of standards. This Department
is the third-largest accreditation body in Japan, having a total
of around 300 auditors. Our Japanese Registration of Certified
Auditors (JRCA) registers 8,000 of those individuals who meet
qualification criteria to conduct quality management system audits
(ISO 9000). Last year, JRCA joined the Mutual Recognition Agreements
Group of International Auditors and Training Certification Association.
In addition to these activities, the Association also carries
out notified inspections as an accredited body in the JIS Mark
Help for Developing Countries
The introduction and promotion of industrial standardization is
indispensable for making progress in industrialization and for
expanding trade, both of which facilitate economic development.
Many developing countries are interested in Japans system of
promoting industrial standardization as a means to help support
its industry in becoming internationally competitive. In recent
years, there have been increasing requests by these countries,
such as China, Korea, Russia, and countries located in South East
Asia, for technical cooperation from Japan related to industrial
standardization and quality control.
In order to provide technical assistance to developing countries
overseas, JSA carries out surveys, holds seminars, and accepts
trainees. These efforts, which relate to industrial standardization
and quality management, are commissioned by the Ministry of Economy,
Trade and Industry, the Japan International Cooperation Agency,
the Association for Overseas Technical Scholarship, and the UN
Industrial Development Organization.
International Standards Development
JSA actively participates in the International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission
(IEC) to develop international standards and supports the activities
of these international standardizing bodies, both directly and
indirectly. JSA sends representatives to serve on top level committees
in these organizations (Mr. Aoki, vice chair of ISO; Mr. Saito,
Technical Management Board member) and provides financial assistance
including travel and participation fees for attending meetings,
as well as financial and other support to other organizations
involved in deliberating draft international standards. In total,
JSA provides financial support to more than 300 representatives
JSA is actively involved in developing international standards
and provides secretaries for some of the ISO and IEC technical
committees and subcommittees for which JISC, the ISO and IEC member
body for Japan, holds the secretariat:
ISO/TC 164 on Mechanical testing of metals;
ISO/TC 201 on Surface chemical analysis;
ISO/TC 69/SC6 on Measurement methods and results;
ISO/TC 201/SC4 on Depth profiling;
ISO/TC201/SC6 on Secondary ion mass spectroscopy; and
ISO/TC 201/SC8 on Glow discharge spectroscopy, and
IEC/TC3/SC3C on Graphical Symbols for use on equipment.
To develop international standards in these fields, the Association
also participates in deliberations taking place in technical committees
ISO/TC10 on Technical drawings, product definition and related
ISO/TC12 on Quantities, units, symbols, conversion factors;
ISO/TC37 on Terminology (principles and coordination);
ISO/TC69 on Applications of statistical methods;
ISO/TC145 on Graphical Symbols;
ISO/TC176 on Quality management and quality assurance;
ISO/TC207 on Environmental management;
ISO/TC213 on Dimensional and geometrical product specifications
IEC/TC1 on Terminology;
IEC/TC3 on Documentation and graphical symbols; and
IEC/TC56 on Dependability.
The International Standardization Forum and IEC Activities Promotion
Committee established within JSA publish the International Standardization
Information and IEC APC News, as well as various other promotional
materials on international standardization.
JSA also took part in the national three-year plan for the alignment
of standards initiated by JISC in 1995 for the alignment of Japanese
Industrial Standards with their respective international standards.
This project was implemented as part of the Deregulation Action
Program that was formulated by Japan in March 1995. This program
was based on the WTO (World Trade Organization)/TBT (Technical
Barriers to Trade) Agreement, which came into force in January
1995. Its overall aim was to promote the reduction of trade barriers.
At the beginning of the three-year plan in 1995, approximately
3,000 JIS out of 8,000 in total were identified as having corresponding
International Standards and about 1,700 JIS out of these 3,000
were targeted for alignment. The alignment work for these 1,700
standards was carried out based on former Guide 21/Guide 3 with
certain modifications. The Japanese Industrial Standards Committee,
with the cooperation of JSA and other national committees began
the intense work of aligning the standards. The work required
the use of extensive human and capital resources but was completed
Through this process it became clear that there were problems
with some of the international standards.
Some international standards were only applicable to particular
regions, and did not reflect the global marketplace.
Some international standards were technologically out of date,
and did not meet with the current technological standards.
Some international standards posed issues in terms of safety
and the environment.
The standards system behind some international standards was
defective and the standards were difficult to use.
For this reason, the Development of Market-Relevant International
Standards Project was set up by JISC in 1998. The implementation
of the project was assigned to JSA by JISC and we in turn contracted
out the project to 32 different private sector associations.
Under the general guidance of JSA, these private associations
undertook activities such as the preparation of revised international
standards proposals, experiments to compare JIS and the related
international standard, and practical case studies of the use
of these international standards in each of the major countries.
They also took part in international meetings in order to submit
the international proposals developed based on the aforementioned
Table 1 gives a few examples of the proposals on representative
case studies out of the more than 200 topics covered by the market
Following the above projects, an on-going project entitled "Cooperation
for Developing International Standards" was set up in 1997 by
JISC. The objectives of the project are to actively develop international
standards that can be adopted nationally by each member country
and are applicable to the global market, as well as to encourage
the submission of international standards proposals from Asian
Pacific countries. The project now promotes a total of six fields:
Multilingual Information Technology, Laser Welding and Cutting,
Pressure Vessels, Construction Materials, Depth Profiling of the
Next Generation Semi-Conductor Devices, and Concrete Machinery.
In conjunction with these activities, JSA has started the project
of Education and Training Courses in the Field of International
Standardization to provide those working in standardization-related
organizations in Japan with the necessary knowledge and know-how
regarding international standardization activities.
The Association is also implementing research projects concerning
the market relevance of international standards, research on know-
how for international proposals and research into economic effectiveness concerning international
standards alignment, in order to actively promote their market
As a result of the projects outlined above, JSA is proud of the
fact that the number of new work item proposals to ISO and IEC
from Japan has doubled in the last two years, with 80 new items
and revisions presented in 2000. Since its establishment just
over 50 years ago, JSA has continued to support Japans national
and international standardization policies through the implementation
of a diverse number of projects designed to increase awareness
and technical knowledge of standardization. We pledge to continue
this support by actively implementing projects that are designed
to promote Japans standardization policies both now and in the
future, particularly in terms of its cooperation with fellow standardization
bodies in Europe, across Asia and of course in the United States,
the leaders in standardization. //
Copyright 2001, ASTM