The government has picked Sept. 1 as the start date of the Consumer Agency — two days after the Lower House election — by moving up the original schedule. Whichever political party comes to power, the new agency will face many difficult problems.

Strengthening of consumer service centers is urgent because they play an important role in collecting information on problems consumers have encountered. At present, there are 586 such centers at the prefectural and municipal levels. The government’s goal is for each municipality with a population of 50,000 or more to have at least one consumer service center.

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