SAFEGUARDS | Softlines NO. 027/16
New regulatory norms related to the use of hazardous chemicals, care labelling symbols and cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing previously announced by Japan Authorities will gradually become effective in 2016.
Japan Azo Restriction in Textile Products 
The Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has amended the long established Japan Law 112 which restricts formaldehyde content in apparel to include azo compounds as one of the mandatory restricted hazardous substance for all textile and clothing products imported into the Japanese market. The new ordinance restricts azo compounds that can break down to release any of the 24 toxic aromatic amines. The threshold limit for each amine is less than 30 mg/kg when tested using a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer. The amended ordinance will become effective on 1 April 2016.
Japan Adopts New Care Labelling Symbols 
The Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) of Japan approved to adopt the new care labelling standard JIS L0001-2014 “Textile – Care Labelling Code Using Symbols”, which replaces the current care labelling standard JIS L0217-1995 under the Household Products Quality Labelling Law. The new standard will harmonize with the ISO international care labelling system (ISO 3758) and will become effective on 1 December 2016.
The new standard increases the care symbols from 22 to 41 symbols and the expanded information provides consumers with more detailed information on awareness of the method and cost of caring for textile products when they are making purchases. After the effective date, textile products must be labeled with new care symbols in order to be accepted in the Japanese market.
On 21 December 2015, the Japanese Standards Association (JSA) officially published the new voluntary safety standard JIS L 4129 “Safety of Children’s Clothing – Cords and Drawstrings on Children’s Clothing – Specification”. Enforcement of the standard will ensure that children’s clothes placed into the Japanese market are safe with regard to cords and drawstrings according to the stated requirements..
The new JIS L 4129 requires related industries to meet standards for such cords and drawstrings based on age group and body part to ensure that all children’s clothing is safe. JIS L 4129 applies to all clothing with cords or drawstrings designed for children under 13 years of age and the general requirements are similar to those stated in the European EN 14682 standard.
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