GS1 Japan was established in 1972 as a specialised institution for the rationalisation and standardisation of distribution systems, and has since worked to promote the introduction of various distribution standards and their application systems. Since we joined GS1 (then called EAN) in 1978, as the representative of Japan, we have been encouraging the use of GS1 standards such as GTIN.
In addition to the standardisation activities above, GS1 Japan has also been providing various services, such as Ryutsu BMS (the Internet-based standard EDI messages for Japanese retailers and wholesalers) and GJDB (GS1 Japan Data Bank). GJDB was launched October 2019 with the primary purpose of helping GS1 Company Prefix licensees (brand owners) in Japan to easily compose GTINs and manage their own product information. Number of parties have already started utilising the service. GJDB is a system that takes into account GS1's global policies, such as its linkage to the GS1 Registry Platform. GS1 Japan will further enhance its services in response to the digitalisation of the distribution industry.
We are also promoting the use of GS1 standards in the healthcare sector. GS1 Japan, healthcare industry and the government have been working together to ensure patient safety as well as supply chain efficiency, resulting in the source marking of GS1 standard barcodes on almost all prescription drugs and medical devices. Stimulating the standardised use of RFID tags through domestic business organisations is one of our major activities. The use of RFID tags is rapidly expanding, particularly in the apparel industry, mainly for receiving/shipping operations and inventory management. Recently, RFIDs have begun to be used for checkout operations, including automatic settlement at self-checkout machines. In addition, we are encouraging the use of RFID tags in other industries/applications, including the application for medical device identification. By sharing the detailed event data of each product and object collected through the standardised use of RFID tags and other equivalents, it is expected that the data could be applied for traceability and marketing purposes.
Furthermore, in order to support member companies and interested parties, we have launched the 'GS1 AIDC Standards Self-Declaration of Conformity Service' this year to provide an opportunity for companies to promote their products that support GS1 standards. GS1 Japan will continue to support their businesses and initiatives.
At present, the world is facing an unprecedented crisis due to COVID-19 infection. The adverse economic effects are becoming worse than financial crisis in 2008. Even in Japan, the traditional business models have become bogged down due to factors such as the decrease in inbound and domestic customer visits. In the distribution industry, efforts are being made to properly deal with the changes in the business environment triggered by the spread of COVID-19 infection, such as improving operational efficiency through the active use of ICT and attracting new customers through the Internet utilisation.
In addition, there is a growing movement to realise the digital transformation throughout the distribution industry taking this difficult situation positive. GS1 Japan is doing its utmost to support Japanese companies in order for them to overcome this difficult situation by building a distribution system that can be adapted to the new environment through further active use of GS1 identification keys, data carriers, and databases.
GS1 Japan contributes to a secure and convenient future through the 'standardisation' of codes and rules as a common platform for society.