Governance on Consumer Markets



Term / Language / Credits

S1S2 / English / 2


Well-functioning consumer markets are the base for economic activities. However, recent changes in consumer markets not only brought additional value to consumers but also pose new challenges to the sound functioning of consumer markets. If consumer markets do not function properly, businesses are given incentives to carry out undesirable conducts such as deceiving consumers and hide information on accidents, leading the economy to deteriorate.
This course will look into problems of contracts (e-commerce, credit cards, door-to-door/telephone sales, etc.), product safety and protection of intellectual property rights.



Consumer market, governance, consumer problem, consumer policy, fraudulent business, product safety, intellectual property right,


1. Introduction
2. Changes and Problems in Consumer Markets
touching upon the guidelines in the UN and the OECD
and situation in Japan
3. Overview and Classification of Measures
4. Consumer contracts 1: Regulations in Japan
5. Consumer contracts 2: Discussion on regulations
6. Consumer Contracts 3: Non-regulatory measures
7. Consumer Contracts 4: Discussion on non-regulatory measures
8. Product Safety 1: Regulations in Japan
9. Product Safety 2: Non-Regulatory measures
10. Product safety 3: Discussions
11. Intellectual Property: Visit to the Patent Office
12. Presentations by Students
13. Wrap-up

Teaching Methods

Lectures are provided in order to stimulate students' thoughts. Students must ask questions, write brief notes, make short presentations and discuss on topics from different viewpoints. A visit to the Patent Office is planned to find out clues for efficient administration.


Class participation including short notes and presentations (70%)
Short paper (30%)

Required Textbook

United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection
Midori TANI “A Properly Functioning Consumer Market as the Backbone of the Japanese Economy”
Midori TANI “Japan’s Consumer Policy”

Reference Books

OECD “Consumer Policy Toolkit”
OECD “Report on Consumer Protection in Online and Mobile Payments”

Notes on Taking the Course

Active participation is required.

Related Resources