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The Natural Resources and Energy Agency, a unit of the Japanese Ministry of Trade and Industry, announced in August that product standards for turbines and other equipment for use in thermal power plants are to be relaxed. The step is intended to enhance foreign access to Japan's heavy electric machine market by making regulations more in line with international standards. The agency states that the electricity industry law will be revised next year and over 500 items regulating the manufacture of major thermal power plant equipment will be gradually halved by the end of the century. Foreign manufacturers have often claimed that Japan's complex and rigid product standard systems constitute non-tariff trade barriers. This seems to have been the case with wind turbines. Two Danish wind companies, Vestas and Micon, have complained bitterly about the difficulty of exporting to Japan.

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