The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan


April 2014
ACCJ Core Advocacy Principles

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan’s (ACCJ) mission is to “further develop commerce between the United States of America and Japan, promote the interests of U.S. companies and members, and improve the international business environment in Japan.” The ACCJ bases its overall advocacy efforts upon the following principles, which it believes are vital to further developing commerce between the United States and Japan and further improving the international business environment in Japan.

I. Free Market Principles
A healthy economy that contributes to the welfare of all requires government involvement as an effective regulator who is deeply committed to such free market principles as competitive markets and free, and open trade and investment.

A healthy economy that contributes to the welfare of all requires effective government involvement as a fair and transparent regulator to ensure the accountability of market participants and appropriate enforcement of sound regulation. Such involvement must be based on a firm commitment to free market principles, including competitive and efficiently regulated markets, and open trade and investment. Such principles enhance consumer welfare by fostering innovation, expanding consumer choice, and making more efficient use of society’s limited resources. Even as governments are forced to take extraordinary measures amid crises, they should avoid more direct forms of intervention except when absolutely necessary to ensure or restore efficient, properly functioning markets. They should refrain from acting as a market competitor and from picking winners and losers in the market.

II. Level Playing Field
Like market participants should be subject to the same laws in the same manner.

A level playing field will enhance consumer choice by bolstering competition among existing market participants, allowing new market entrants fair access and guaranteeing fair treatment of all market participants.

Governments across the globe, in considering financial market stabilization and economic stimulus measures, should avoid policies that unfairly benefit domestic enterprises at the expense of foreign or new entrants to the market.

III. Transparent and Fair Process
Transparency is essential to the regulatory process, improving the quality of rulemaking and enforcement decisions by ensuring fairness, clarity and predictability.

Transparency improves the quality of regulation and ensures that governments are held accountable for their actions, both formal and informal. Transparency is most effectively manifest when a broad range of stakeholders are involved in the formulation of regulations, procedures, and administrative decisions that affect their interests and are made aware of these rules in a timely and open fashion. Transparency is enhanced through clear, consistent, and detailed written communications. New communication and information regarding regulations and other rulemakings should be provided in a way that all market participants can reasonably access it. In addition, regulatory enforcement decisions are most effective when they are the result of a fair process, including adequate opportunities for parties involved in enforcement actions to be heard and a meaningful avenue of appeal.

IV. Global Best Practices
Adoption of global best practices promotes efficiency and sound regulation and allows regulators, the business community, and consumers to benefit from innovation and expertise developed in other markets.

The adoption of regulatory and business global best practices across a range of sectors enables regulators, the business community, and consumers alike to benefit from innovation and expertise developed across the globe.

The principle of global best practices encourages companies to adopt policies that conform with the highest global standards while adhering to local market requirements.

V. Corporate Social Responsibility

As good corporate citizens, the behavior of companies should serve and support the communities in which they do business.

Companies must take responsibility for the impacts of their operations, both positive and negative, contribute to sustaining an effective social infrastructure, as well as protect consumers so as to ensure the economic well-being of society overall.

By offering top quality, innovative products and services, investing in communities, promoting diversity, and providing employment, while ensuring compliance with the law and engaging in philanthropic activities that benefit those in need, private sector corporations are a vital part of a thriving economy and sustainable communities.

VI. Solutions-Based Recommendations

In order to promote a better business environment, policy recommendations should be constructive, solutions-based, cost-effective and founded on sound analysis to foster economic growth, competition and innovation, providing customers with greater choice, higher quality, and more convenience.

Policy formation is most effective when stakeholders have meaningful opportunities to participate in its development. To leverage such opportunities and foster economic growth, a constructive, solutions-based dialogue founded on sound analysis between governments and stakeholders is imperative for reaching “win-win” solutions that promote fair competition and innovation. Such solutions will allow companies with the best products and services to succeed by offering customers greater choice, higher quality, and more convenience.

VII. U.S.–Japan Economic Integration and Regional Leadership
Enhanced U.S.–Japan economic integration based on the foregoing core principles, is the most effective way for both nations to work in concert to bolster the global free-trade system, strengthen their international competitiveness, overcome their shared challenges, achieve sustainable growth and maintain regional prosperity and stability.

Japan and the United States have forged a strong bilateral relationship based on common interests and values, and this relationship is indispensable to bilateral, regional, and global prosperity and stability. For Japan and the United States, the key to overcoming their shared challenges, which include globalization and aging populations, and the path to increased international competitiveness, lies in robust international engagement, especially through further bilateral economic integration. The ACCJ believes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) provides an opportunity for Japan and the United States to jointly take the lead in shaping future Asian economic development through the harmonization of standards, regulations, product approval processes, and other business environment issues, as well as to further enhance the integration of our two economies. The ACCJ also believes that continued robust, official bilateral engagement between the United States and Japan through such dialogues as the Economic Harmonization Initiative and the Policy Cooperation Dialogue on the Internet Economy is an effective means to promote U.S.–Japan economic integration.