The past year was another very busy and successful one for GS1 Japan. We enjoyed a steady and healthy increase in membership with more than 11,000 new companies and individuals obtaining GS1 Company Prefix from us last year. This makes altogether 130,877 GCP holders in Japan.
GS1 Japan Partners, an alliance program for solution providers established in 2015, is on track. We regularly perform seminars and site visits, since better understanding of GS1 standards on the part of solution providers is crucial to a global optimization of the supply chain.
In 2015, we went through another major reorganization --- from a standards-based format to an industry-wide structure --- to offer tailored support and solutions to our members. The reorganization enabled us to better hear our members and understand their issues in order to take a more problem- solving approach.
The sector-oriented action plan is functioning well, too. As for CPG, our core sector, we have been proactively working with the industry. Earlier this year, we published "Source Marking Guidelines for Raw Materials" after more than 2 years of joint work with food manufacturers and their suppliers. This will surely drive the use of GS1 keys in the upstream of the supply chain.
Ryutsu BMS (the EDI standard) is becoming popular, as well. According to our survey, it has already been implemented in over 10,000 companies. Some pharmacies have decided to adopt it, not only for sundries and OTC drugs, but for prescription drugs, as well.
With regard to the healthcare sector, the number of GS1 Healthcare Japan members reached 100 last year. Thanks to recognition of GS1 standards by the manufacturers and wholesalers of medical devices and pharmaceuticals, we are now touting the benefits of using GS1 standards in hospitals for patient safety. The use of GRAI and RFID to track returnable assets and reduce losses is attracting many. This is an area where we see great potential.
The challenge we are facing at the moment is the ever-increasing demand for accurate product information by consumers. We have long provided B2B product catalogue services. But, we are now being in the process of further refining them to harness even more attributes and more high-quality data by adopting a more flexible design. Collaboration with MOs, especially Asia Pacific ones, is something we greatly value. In October of this year, we are hosting AP Regional Forum to further strengthen ties. I am looking forward to seeing you in Tokyo.
Lastly, to our GS1 member companies, GS1 MOs, and GS1 GO, I would like to express my sincerest wishes for your continued success in achieving increasingly higher levels of consumer satisfaction through the implementation of GS1 standards. I firmly believe that these standards have the power to transform the way we live and work.