Japan is going to ban online non-prescription drug sales

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) has announced a plan to ban online sales of non-prescription drugs. The MHLW is planning to issue an Ordinance of the Ministry to ban online drug sales by June 2009.

In Japan, the online drug market has overall annual sales of 111 billion yen (1 billion USD) as of 2006 [1].

Rakuten, Yahoo! Japan, Kenko.com and other e-commerce providers have released their opinions against the regulation.

The e-commerce providers stated that:
* There is no Act to authorize the MHLW to ban online drug sales. Therefore, the MHLW cannot issue the Ordinance of the Ministry. [2]
* The MHLW admitted in the public debate between itself and the Council for the Promotion of Regulatory Reform that it has no evidence of a single case of health problems related to online drug sales.
* The MHLW is not giving any reasons for introducing the new regulation.
* The MHLW is going to allow convenience stores to sell drugs. This is not consistent with banning Internet drug sales.

MiAU (Movements for the Internet Active Users, JP) has stated that the MHLW didn’t disclose enough information about the regulation such as its purpose or any discussions inside the MHLW.

[1] 2006 Market Research Report on E-Commerce by Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (経済産業省「平成18年度電子商取引に関する市場調査」)
[2] Act (法律) is a statute law legislated by the Diet. Ordinance of the Ministry (省令) cannot restrict citizen’s rights without authorization of the Act. (http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%B3%95%E4%BB%A4)

(via Impress Internet Watch (JP))


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Shunichi Arai is developing a product for his new stealth startup. Arai devotes his life to software business, reading, and salsa dancing. Arai also loves to learn other cultures and languages such as Korean.