Business / Corporate

Toymakers in Japan boost efforts to tackle counterfeits

JIJI

Toymakers in Japan are strengthening measures against counterfeit products being sold overseas, especially in China.

The proportion of domestic toymakers’ sales made overseas has been growing, due to the shrinking domestic market amid the declining birthrate. Firms are concerned that overlooking the sale of counterfeit products could lead not only to confusion among consumers but also damage to brands.

Bandai Spirits Co., a unit of Bandai Namco Holdings Inc., estimates that pirated products cause an annual loss of revenue of over ¥3 billion in China.

“We have pinpointed makers of counterfeit products in collaboration with the Chinese government, but it has been a cat-and-mouse game with highly skilled makers emerging one after another,” said Bandai Spirits President Masaru Kawaguchi.

The company sells character figures, including those from the popular Japanese anime series “Mobile Suit Gundam,” in about 15 countries and regions.

Beginning in September, some Bandai products will carry a sticker certifying authenticity.

“We can’t protect consumers or eradicate counterfeit goods unless we take preventative measures,” Kawaguchi said.

He also expressed concern about the risks such goods pose to the company’s image.

Tomy Co., which sells toys in some 70 countries and regions, uses a Chinese research company to regularly check how copies are being distributed online. The company plans to strengthen efforts to address piracy.

Chinese pirated goods are often exported to other countries, increasing the risk of damage to brands.

Cooperation between governments is crucial since the private sector is limited in the action it can take.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said it will continue to call on the Chinese government to crack down on pirated goods.

The ministry added that it will promote training for customs officials across Asia in order to help them detect fake products.

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