Ensuring of the safety and quality of products


Basic Concepts

Mizuno believes that ensuring the appropriate quality of our products and services is a critical responsibility, in order for our customers to use them with safety and confidence. We also consider it vital to provide sufficient information to assist our customers in making informed product choices, to respond to various feedback we receive, and to leverage these insights for continuous improvement. We continue to cherish the words of our founder, Rihachi Mizuno, "Create the best products for customers," which serve as a fundamental principle underpinning Mizuno’s commitment to craftsmanship. We remain dedicated to maintaining and enhancing our product quality.

System for product safety and quality control

We conduct various reviews and inspections to ensure product safety and quality control. Through reviews, we check various items related to product quality, including product design, materials to be used, safety during use, and labeling. In design reviews before the start of manufacturing of new products, we check their structure and materials as well as technical aspects based on the checklist. After products are manufactured, we conduct a pre-shipment inspection before they are shipped from a factory to make a final check for defects in individual products.

We ensure the quality of all products according to the product standards and the material quality standards created for each item. These product and material quality standards are based on laws, standards, and other rules of each country as well as the know-how that we have cultivated through manufacturing over many years and the feedback of our customers.

Since many of our products are manufactured in external subcontracted factories with which we have signed an OEM contract, it is important to ensure product quality in these factories as well. For subcontracted factories with which we enter into a new contract, the person in charge in each product division diagnoses their ability to guarantee product quality to ensure that products manufactured there will meet the quality specified by us. We sign an OEM contract only with factories that satisfy our criteria. As a QC patrol activity, we also regularly visit factories that have already signed a contract and have been involved in producing our major items to check the quality control status and provide guidance. In FY 2022, we conducted a patrol and audit of overseas manufacturing factories using a web conferencing system. In addition, at regular QC meetings, we check the quality status of our products in the market and discuss and thoroughly implement measures to prevent the recurrence of defective products.

In the event of a serious defect, we report it to the relevant administrative bodies, including the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Consumer Affairs Agency, and, if necessary, we widely announce it to the public and voluntarily recall the relevant products to prevent the circulation of defective products. No serious defects that require company announcement through a newspaper or other means have occurred since FY 2005.

In FY 2023, we will continue to work to provide safe and high-quality products through the improvement of our quality assurance system from a global perspective and the development of human resources.

Use of quality function deployment (QFD) at the time of development of new products

When developing new products, we conduct quality reviews using quality function deployment (QFD) prescribed in the JIS standard "Performance improvement of management systems Guidelines for quality function deployment" (JIS Q 9025: 2003). QFD is defined as a methodology that uses various transformations and deployments to achieve quality goals for products.
In QFD, a quality function deployment diagram consisting of a required quality deployment table, in which the functions required by the customer are deployed in three stages, and a quality characteristic deployment table, which shows quantitatively measurable characteristics for designing the required quality, is created to clarify the relationship between customer needs and quality characteristics. The purpose of the diagram is to ensure that the quality required for products is incorporated into product design.
Although we have started using QFD for the development of some products, we will expand the scope of use to more products and services, including the enhancement of intangible elements of products and the development of exercise programs through products.

Operation of the certification system for inspectors at overseas group companies

We implemented a certification system for inspectors (Mizuno Footwear Test Instructor Certification System) to enable inspectors of overseas group companies located at subcontracted factories to conduct inspections and make judgments at a certain level.

ISO 9001 certification

The Mizuno Group has acquired and continuously maintained ISO 9001 certification, the international standard for quality management systems, to ensure product safety and quality.

Year of acquisition Company certified ISO 9001
2001 Senoh Corporation
2004 Shanghai Mizuno Corporation Ltd.
2006 Mizuno Technics Corporation
Taiwan Mizuno Corporation

Management of restricted chemical substances in our products

Mizuno has established and implemented the Chemical Substances Control Regulations. This set of regulations specifies the rules which must be observed to ensure that restricted chemical substances are well managed in the products we manufacture and sell, thereby keeping our products safe and of the appropriate level of quality. Based on these regulations, we make a list of chemical substances*1 that are banned or restricted by national laws and ordinances, and its acceptable standard. Before commercializing products, we refer to this list to research and check them.
The Quality Assurance Office and the Legal Office formulate the regulations and procedures that are necessary for the control of chemical substances and provide education and guidance to the relevant departments in charge of different product lines, such as equipment, apparel and shoes. The Quality Assurance Office coordinates annual targets for the individual product divisions and carries out regular checks of control activities. For certain types of chemical substances that may be used, we require suppliers to fill in and submit a chemical substance questionnaire and / or a written pledge not to use the chemical substances in question. We also have sampling inspection*2 conducted by third-party testing bodies of some of the products and materials in a bid to verify their safety. If any substance that raises concern is identified in a report on a chemical substances inspection and in the results of analyses, we request that suppliers reduce the environmental impacts. We also propose remedial action to ensure the proper treatment of chemical substances used at the production site of OEM factories and to replace them with chemical substances with lower environmental impacts.

*1 Typical examples of restricted chemical substances with particularly high risks include those specified in the POPs Convention, those designated as Class I Specified Chemical Substances in the Act on the Evaluation of Chemical Substances and Regulation of Their Manufacture, etc., those specified in the Act on Control of Household Products Containing Harmful Substances, and those specified in Annexes XIV and XVII of the European Union’s REACH regulation.

*2 Such tests include a check to confirm that there is no content of specified azo dyes that generate specified aromatic amines and a test to verify the compliance of products for Europe with the REACH regulation.

Participation in the Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management Group (AFIRM)

In January 2019, we joined the Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management Group (AFIRM) , an international organization that manages the Restricted Substances List (RSL), to simplify the operation of restricted chemical substances and strengthen the management of them.
Based on information from AFIRM, we have created a restricted chemical substances list, which meets the international standards, to manage the risk of chemical substances remaining in products in the supply chain. We will also promote information sharing and collaboration within the industry to improve compliance.
In cooperation with ASICS Corporation, we have unified the names of restricted chemical substances in Japanese. This can be expected to facilitate the management of restricted chemical substances in the supply chain in Japan. We have also jointly created the Japanese version of various materials issued by AFIRM and have published them on the AFIRM website. These materials can be viewed and used freely also by any non-member of AFIRM. We will continue to contribute to improving the management level of residual chemical substances in products in Japan.
We have created the Mizuno Restricted Substances List, which meets the international standards, based on AFIRM materials. It consists of two lists, a restricted substances list for products and a restricted substances list for product packages.
In FY 2022, we created the Mizuno Restricted Substances List 2022 and distributed it to our suppliers.

* AFIRM:Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management Group (RSL=Restricted Substances List)
Representative member companies of AFIRM: adidas, Amazon, ASICS, Descente, Decathlon, Esprit, Fast Retailing, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, New Balance, NIKE, Inc., Pentland, PUMA, Skechers, and Under Armour (The company names follow the notation on the official website of AFIRM [])


Commitment to enhancing employee awareness

Providing education on quality

Mizuno believes that the safety and quality of Mizuno products depend on the awareness and conduct of each employee of the Mizuno Group. Mizuno has formulated the Mizuno Quality Education Outline with the aim of helping the spirit of founder Rihachi Mizuno, best expressed in his own words as "Create the best products for customers," firmly take root inside the company. Following this outline, we also intend to build a system for systematically and unfailingly providing employees with training on quality control. Mizuno believes that quality control is something that must be undertaken by the Mizuno Group as a whole, not just one specific division.
Quality Assurance Office carries out company-wide quality education and department-specific quality education conducted in each department.

Major training courses on quality control [*d]

Company-wide Quality Control Course
(Outline) Acquiring knowledge of basic rules regarding quality control
[Target] Product, development, business, sales, and indirect departments, etc. and Group companies
(Performance) In FY 2022, we held two sessions themed "customer service education," with a total of 242 participants. Since FY 2021, we have implemented a recorded viewing format, allowing participation from various departments across our domestic offices.
Study Course for the QC Test
(Outline) Implemented by Mizuno Corporation, Mizuno Technics Corporation, Senoh Corporation, and Sharp Industries Corporation to promote self-development for the improvement of quality control skills and problem-solving abilities.
[Target] Product, development, business, sales, and manufacturing departments, etc.
(Performance) 275 QC certificate holders as of April 2023 (employees in office)
Product Division Quality Control Education Course
(Outline) Organized by each of three product departments to enhance quality-related expertise
[Target] Staff in charge of planning, production, sourcing, development, etc. of the product departments
(Performance) FY 2022: a total of 65 courses / 1,720 participants
The course was held in a combined format of on-site group education, online education, and education through a recorded course with the purpose of providing expertise on products handled by each product department.

Handing down of skills that support product quality

Our commitment to quality is supported by improvement activities at Mizuno Technics Corporation, which is engaged in manufacturing many of our products.
In the situation that many sporting goods are produced overseas, the reason why we continue to stick to manufacturing in Japan is to pursue low volume and high mix production so that we can produce and supply a wide variety of products in the required quantity. By doing so, we aim to respond to the globalization of the market, the individualization of consumer needs, and rapid changes in trends in the informatization era.
We create standard operating procedures (SOPs), and based on these "standards," we train workers to promote multi-skill development (so that one worker can carry out multiple tasks). We also strive, with wisdom, to improve productivity by thoroughly eliminating unnecessary work. Through these efforts, we aim to develop human resources specializing in manufacturing.
Moreover, the presence of craftsmen (with the title of "Meister / Craftsman"), who make tools that support athletes, helps pass down the philosophy of "Create the best products for customers," which features the founder’s spirit, within the company.

Mizuno Technics Corporation – System for improving product quality

The manufacturing technology and know-how of Mizuno Technics Corporation are highly trusted by professional sports athletes and teams. To continue to meet their expectations, it is essential for all employees to further improve their skills and pass on their skills. To this end, Mizuno Technics has built and operates a system for improving product quality based on ISO 9001 as described below.

  1. Quality Management System (QMS) Operations Committee meeting held every two months: Reporting and providing education on QMS matters to QMS Operations Committee members appointed from each section.
  2. Mizuno Technics Quality Education program held every two months: The Quality Assurance Section prepares materials and provides education.

Quality Month Initiatives

We have designated each November as Quality Month, during which we conduct various quality-related activities for all employees across the Group. In FY 2022, we held a photo contest about quality (with 62 participants), and a company-wide course on customer support (with 242 participants), resulting in a total of 304 participants in these activities.
These activities provide our employees with an opportunity to reconsider the quality of our products and services, leading to improved quality and customer satisfaction.

Future issues to be addressed

  • We will continue to improve the accuracy and efficiency of various reviews to prevent the occurrence of defective products.
  • We are considering the creation of a more flexible quality assurance system in order to respond to the diversification of products handled by us and the complexity of the supply chain due to entry into new markets.
  • In response to the worldwide trend towards stricter regulations on chemical substances, we will continue developing a global quality assurance system in collaboration with our overseas group companies.
  • To provide safe and high-quality products, we will continue to offer educational opportunities about quality assurance that accommodate various work arrangements.