What can JARO do?
JARO is tasked to receive complaints and inquiries concerning advertising and labeling, examine them and, where necessary, recommend advertisers modify or discontinue questionable representations. Advice or information is also provided in response to inquiries. Through such activities, JARO strives, as its by-law prescribes, to ensure fair advertising and labeling practices and to improve such practices in terms of their quality so that the consumers' interest may be protected, thereby contributing to the sound growth of the economy and the maintenance of the people's living standards. To achieve its goals, in addition to consulting relevant public or private rules, JARO investigates challenged ad claims on the basis of the following Advertising Review Principles:
Advertising and labeling shall:
- be fair and truthful;
- not be harmful to consumers;
- be made, in consideration of their impact on youth and children;
- be decent and pursuant to social manners and customs;
- be in compliance with relevant laws and regulations, as well as public policy.
(Head office in Tokyo and its branches in Osaka)
In their day-to-day work, the office staff of JARO handles complaints similar to the following:
A staff member receives a complaint of advertising or labeling through an online form, a phone call or a letter from a consumer or competitor. The advertiser is then identified and its advertising claim questioned and it is determined whether the case shall proceed. Upon verification of the complaint, the concerned advertiser is asked to make a written reply to the complainant via JARO. If the reply satisfies the challenger and the advertisement has no particular problem representation, the case is closed. However, if the challenger is not satisfied with the reply or a questionable claim is found in the advertising by JARO, the case is entered into the official process of reviewing advertisements.
Reviewing ad claims
(Advertising Review Committee & its Subcommittees)
Primarily the case is forwarded to one of the Advertising Review Subcommittees along with necessary materials for deliberation, including a copy of the advertisement or TV commercial at issue, and a comment or information from a member of the media, ad-related group or government agency. The subcommittee, after examination, drafts a proposed recommendation that usually requires the advertiser to modify or discontinue all or part of the ad claims.
Then the proposal is submitted to the Advertising Review Committee (ARC) for approval. After reexamination and approval, the proposed recommendation takes effect as a JARO finding. The recommendation is sent to both parties involved and a copy, where appropriate, to the concerned advertising bodies for reference.
If the advertiser or the complainant rejects the recommendation, the ARC submits the case before the Self-Regulatory Bodies (SRB) for reexamination. The SRB consists of seven experts with broad knowledge and experience outside the industry. The SRB makes a final decision on the issue and requires both parties to accept the decision. The copied decision is sent to the concerned groups as above. With either the ARC recommendation or the SRB decision, the advertiser is asked to submit a modified or new advertisement to JARO for confirmation.
There are six Advertising Review Subcommittees, with no particularly specified roles, which are comprised of about fourteen members of a junior director level from individual companies. The Advertising Review Committee is comprised of sixteen members of a senior director or executive level from companies which is the highest level of decision-making regarding advertising controversies.