The beauty industry means big bucks in Japan. Consumers are bombarded with a constant stream of advertisements for the latest cosmetic products on TV and the Internet, in magazines, on billboards and even on trains. It should come as no surprise to learn that Japan is the second-biggest national market for beauty products in the world.

While Japanese consumers clamor for items that will make their skin smoother or their hair shinier, relatively few people are aware of the horror behind the products in their cosmetics cases. Until recently, the fact that many ingredients are still being tested on live animals received only lip service here in Japan. However, following major changes in laws on animal testing in Europe last year, the Japanese government and cosmetic companies are ramping up efforts to follow suit.

Last month, Diet members, scientists and animal protection group personnel gathered to share information about global trends in ending cosmetics testing on animals, with a focus on the implications for Japan going forward. One of the presenters at the forum was Troy Seidle, the director of the Research and Toxicology Department at Humane Society International (HSI). As the world's largest nongovernmental organization involved with advancing non-animal testing, HSI plays a key role in working with governments, lawmakers, corporations and consumers.