TÖKYÖ  — Japan’s apparel industry will begin placing a special tag on “genuine” Japan-made clothing in an effort to promote items made by “highly skilled” Japanese workers. Industry sources said the move, which was to be announced Jan. 14, is being taken to counter fierce competition from cheaper-made products from China.

Companies will be allowed to put the so-called “J Quality” tag on suits, shirts and sweaters only if three processes — weaving of the fabric, dyeing and sewing — are done in Japan. Raw materials such as imported threads from abroad are permissible.

The project’s official announcement paves the way for this year’s autumn and winter items to be sold with the “J Quality” tag. Companies can begin applying to a fashion industry group next month to put the tag on their products. Shoes and bags will not be included. The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry plans to support the industry’s efforts.

Until now, only clothing sewn in Japan could be labeled “Made in Japan” — even if it was made with foreign-made fabric.

Imported items account for about 97 percent of clothing sales in Japan. According to an industry official, until now, Japan’s apparel industry has focused only on selling cheap products. He said he hopes the new labeling will make consumers aware of the “high-quality domestic products, even though they might be expensive.”


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