16/06/2021

A Brief Look at the Japanese Industrial Standards

When talking about the industrial sector of Japan, one should not neglect one crucial feature - the Japanese Industrial Standards or JIS. The strength of the sector can be attributed in part to these regulating provisions. It is important for professionals as well as for consumers, so here’s the basics.


Table of Contents

  1. Definition and Role of Industry Standards
  2. Defining Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS)
  3. The JISC and its Goals
  4. Summary

Definition and Role of Industry Standards

Establishing industry standards, or what is otherwise referred to as the process of standardization, refers to setting a set of criteria in any given area aimed at anticipating, avoiding, and reducing potential problems, as well as to standardize the process for the future so that all can ensure safety and quality. 

Not only do industry standards create a safe and approved set of criteria for the industry side to follow, but standardization also assures the final consumers that they are buying quality products that are durable and safe.

One primary role of industry standards is to guide and advise the government’s regulatory agencies and its legal system in the practical and technological aspects of governance.They ensure that the standards are upheld both not only within that country or region, but also comparative to international standards as well. This means Industry Standards determine the framework of global industrial policies, as well as the foundation of any organization and its tools and processes, so both the domestic and international standards must be transparent regardless which one the company is adhering to at the moment.

Defining Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS)

So what are the industry standards in Japan? 

It’s called the Japanese Industrial Standards (abbreviated as JIS). It utilizes an alphanumeric system which is a combination of one letter according to the category of the department and a 4-digit classification number (sometimes more digits are used when necessary according to international standards). This makes it easy to mention the standard in documents without writing out the full name, keeping the notation short and simple as long as one knows how to read and understand said notation.

Below is a complete list of department symbols from the JIS website for your reference:

Symbol

Industry Sector

A

Civil engineering and architecture.

B

General machine 

C

Electronic device and electric machine

D

Car 

E

Railroad 

F

Ship 

G

Steel 

H

Non-ferrous metal 

K

Chemistry

L

Fiber 

M

Mine

P

Pulp and paper

Q

Management system

R

Ceramic industry

S

Daily goods 

T

Medical safety equipment 

W

Aviation 

X

Information processing

Y

Service 

Z

Other 

An example given on the official website of the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee, “JIS G 3112” refers to a steel bar for reinforced concrete building construction. If you check the chart above, you would know that the G is the letter assigned to Steel. When a revision is applied to the classification, then the year will be added after the currently existing number. In this case, if you see “JIS G3112:2010”, then you know it was revised in 2010.

※Japanese Industrial Standards Committee, "What is JIS (Japanese Industrial Standards)?

The latest JIS numbers are listed on the JIS official website.

As the above list shows, the application of JIS in industry sectors provides a certain set of methods which can be updated over time according to the particular department concerned. This also assures strict adherence to quality standards for consumers at large, as well as the reliability of products in the market.

Monthly establishment and revision of Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) are performed and updated as revisions are made. The English versions of the updates and news on JIS are published by Japan Standards Association Group (JSA) in order to ensure that everything related to international trade and business is also kept up to date on such changes. 

※ Japanese Industrial Standards Committee, "Industry standardization and JIS"
※ Japan Standards Association Group, “Promoting JIS and other publications

The JISC and its Goals

The Japanese Industry Standard Committee (JISC) is a member of the International Standards Organization and creates and updates the JIS as necessary. The JISC website states they have 3 particular goals they are focusing on in Japan:

1. Interoperability which means computer systems or software exchanging information effectively and efficiently with a focus specifically on the industries of electric power systems and smart manufacturing. In the age of technology and digitalization, this is essential in Japan, both domestically and internationally especially in these industries.

2. Elderly care - It’s no secret that Japan has an aging population, and focusing on standardization in the areas related to taking care of the elderly is a natural and essential measure Japan must take.

3. Electric Power - Standardizing the management of power networks is also crucial, especially when everyone is in need of electric power in this day and age.

You can read more about these 3 goals here.

※Japanese Industrial Standards Committee, “JISC's New Challenges

Summary

This is just barely scratching the surface of Japan’s endeavors to provide quality products and goods. Getting familiar with the standardization rules in Japan will ensure interested individuals and organizations of the rationale and significance of the Japanese Industry Standard. It also demonstrates Japan’s commitment to achieving safety, security, product compatibility, and quality assurance in the manufacturing, marketing, and use of goods and the delivery of services. As a prime innovator in science and technology, Japan has firmly established itself as well in promoting worthwhile standards that are acceptable to the rest of the world’s economic and industrial communities.

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