The global economy has continued to show instability due to the risk averse momentum leading to lower U.S. interest rates, and uncertainty is rising further with the results of Britain's referendum in June. Despite those circumstances, adoption of GS1 standards has grown steadily and more than 11,000 companies newly registered for a GS1 Company Prefix (GCP) in the previous fiscal year in Japan. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the GS1 community members for their cooperation and support.
The previous fiscal year was the first year in which GS1 Japan reorganized its structure according to industries and
began operations under the new system. Thanks to the organizational change, we have been able to provide more
tailored solutions and assistance to our member companies. In addition, we established the GS1 Japan Partners, the
membership program consisting mainly of solution providers, and have been working to strengthen cooperation
with solution providers who serve as important partners in developing and implementing concrete solutions.
Furthermore, we began accepting online applications to register for a GS1 Company Prefix. By making application process of GCP easier and shortening the time to assign a GCP to each applicant, we have been able to improve accessibility for our users, while at the same time improving efficiency for administrative procedures within GS1 Japan.
As for initiatives for the industry in GS1's traditional areas of Retail & Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), we have been proactively working to respond to the increase in the Internet and omni-channelling transactions, and to expand the use of Ryutu BMS (the new domestic industry standard EDI). In addition, we are working to improve efficiency in the food packaging industry as well as the supply chain between raw material manufacturers and processed food manufacturers, in which the use of the GS1 standards was lacking, and have published the guidelines to promote the use of the GS1 Standards in those areas. In healthcare, we are actively encouraging the use of the GS1 standards not only among medical device/drug manufacturers and their wholesalers, but also in hospitals to ensure medical safety and patient safety, improve distribution, and implement traceability. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's guideline on barcode labelling for medicine is to be partly amended this year to require barcode marking of expiration date and lot number on packaging, and this will lay the groundwork for ensuring greater traceability. In Transport & Logistics area, efforts have been made to promote the management of cage trolleys and foldable containers using EPC/RFID, while a verification experiment was conducted to improve the visibility of the cross-border supply chain for Japanese sake using GS1 Standards.
In moving forward, GS1 Japan will continue to intensify its contributions to promote the streamlining and improvement of operations using the GS1 system. Finally, I extend my best wishes for the continued success of GS1 member companies, GS1 MOs, and GS1 Global Office, and look forward to providing greater consumer satisfaction through implementation of GS1 Standards.