What is JFTC?

Brief History of JFTC

In June 1947, Japan Foreign Trade Council, Inc. was established to promote free and fair international trade through amalgamating four major trade-related organizations then active. It was two years after the end of World War II and three months prior to the resumption of private-sector trade. Coping with increasing needs for overseas market information, JFTC's proposal to establish a research institute resulted in the establishment of Japan Export Trade Research Organization in 1951, which has developed now to JETRO-Japan External Trade Organization.

JFTC organized the first national trade promotion conference in 1959 jointly with JETRO and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to foster a nationwide understanding of international trade. Motivated by such activities, in 1963, the government instituted June 28th as International Trade Commemoration Day.

In 1971, the massive current account deficit of the U.S. together with serious stagflation triggered its abandonment of the fixed exchange rate system. The so-called Nixon-Shock moved every major trading country to adopt a floating exchange rate system. JFTC made a strong request to the government to take immediate actions such as full-scale easing of foreign exchange controls, development of a futures exchange market, the establishment of a system of reserve rate fluctuation, and the introduction of a foreign currency lending system.

In 1973, JFTC announced its code of conduct for foreign direct investment, which was well received by government as well as other major economic organizations in Japan as a good model of practical guidelines related to foreign investment.

The oil crisis in 1973 brought soaring inflation, which also invited criticism of trading companies from the public, suspecting that they might have been behind the scene. Amid these circumstances, JFTC immediately formulated its Code of Conduct for General Trading Companies in 1973 to secure their independence from government control. In response, member companies formulated the same for their own.

Japan, having become one of the world's biggest economies and traders in the 1970s, began to face numerous international economic problems and pressures from foreign countries. In order to respond promptly and to solve them effectively, in 1986, JFTC decided on a fundamental change from being a trans-industrial economic body to becoming an association with trading companies (Shoshas) and trade related organizations as regular members.

JFTC had long been calling for liberalization of foreign exchange controls to promote an open economic system worldwide. Confronting an era of tough global competition and a mounting sense of crisis for the survival of Japanese industries, JFTC submitted to the government a proposal for a drastic revision of the foreign exchange control system in March 1996. This proposition included the total liberalization of foreign exchange transaction business and the creation of a global standard.

In accordance with the enforcement of the Law to Promote Specified Nonprofit Activities passed in December 1998, JFTC set up a nonprofit organization (NPO) study group in May 1999, which conducted research activities for a year on the actual situation of and the future prospects for NPOs. As a result, for the purpose of contributing to social work both at home and overseas, a cross-industrial NPO - Action for a Better International Community (ABIC)- was organized in April 2000 with the maximum employment of the know-how and experience that Shoshas have accumulated over many years.