The economic revival strategy known as "Abenomics" has put Japan on the road to recovery. Thanks in part to the recent economic upswing, there has been a steady growth in the adoption of the GS1 standard in Japan, and total number of member companies has exceeded 131,000. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the GS1 community members for their cooperation and support.
Since GS1 Japan joined the former EAN International in 1978, the total number of GS1 Company Prefix licensees has grown to exceed 130,000 today. While pleased with this achievement, GS1 Japan has not been complacent; it recently undertook a major organizational change aiming for further growth and improvement. The restructuring was two-fold: first, operational units structured along technology resources such as barcodes, EPC/RFID, EDI, and databases were transformed into industry-based departments. The realignment allows us to provide more tailored solutions, combining the appropriate GS1 standard and services to meet industry- and product-specific needs. Second, GS1 Japan established an organizational structure that promotes closer coordination between its domestic and overseas activities. The Japanese economy, along with that of the rest of the world, is becoming increasingly integrated into the globalization process, and GS1 Japan is committed to playing an active role internationally, developing and submitting its own standardization proposals, forging stronger ties with GS1MOs of other countries, and offering support to member companies operating abroad.
The most notable developments in Japan today are the growth of E-commerce and the heightened consumer awareness for product safety.
The rapid expansion of E-commerce in B2C and C2C, is having a significant impact on commerce. For instance, much attention is being paid to omni-channel retailing, which involves a seamless integration of online and offline marketing, with a growing number of retail and apparel business actively adopting this approach in Japan. Indeed, more than 10% of the companies that registered for a GS1 Company Prefix have responded that they did so to utilize the GTIN in online marketing. In view of this trend, we plan to play an active role in digital commerce in the coming years.
The recurrent food safety issues at home and abroad, such as the distribution of expired or contaminated food, have sparked consumer interest in product safety. Many businesses are now taking steps to address those concerns.
In the healthcare sector, new barcode system was introduced in July 2015 with the goal of implementing traceability and preventing medication errors involving pharmaceuticals.
GS1Japan is currently involved in implementation studies, and promotion activities of the GS1 system that will prove effective in addressing product safety and security issues for multiple companies.
In moving forward, GS1Japan will continue to intensify its efforts to promote the adoption and widespread use of the GS1 system by responding to technological innovation, various business needs, and changing consumer behavior. Finally, I extend my best wishes for the continued success of the GS1 member companies, GS1 MOs, and GS1 Global Office, and look forward to providing greater consumer satisfaction through the GS1 standard.