An unusual alliance of musicians, fans of old video games and buyers of second-hand electronics has prevailed in a battle with Japan's powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The people-power protest, a rarity in a country of conformity such as\u00a0Japan, succeeded last week in pushing METI to compromise over a law that was set to make the commercial sale of a vast number of second-hand electronics illegal.An unusual alliance of musicians, fans of old video games and buyers of secondhand electronics has prevailed in a battle with Japan's powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The people-power protest, a rarity in a country of conformity such as\u00a0Japan, succeeded last week in pushing METI to compromise over a law that was set to make the commercial sale of a vast number of secondhand electronics illegal.The law was implemented in 2001 as a revision to Japan's electrical appliance safety regulations and imposed a revised standard on new products coming from the likes of Sony and Toshiba. Retailers of used products were given a five-year grace period under which they could continue to sell certain products based on the older standards, but that period is scheduled to end Saturday.The goods can then only be sold if they are tested for compliance with the new rules and earn the safety mark, called PSE. Such products include electric washing machines, televisions, audio equipment, game machines and electric musical instruments. There are 254 types of product that should be pulled from secondhand sale this weekend, but it's the threat to secondhand musical instruments that has caused the most fuss.A campaign against the law gained steam over the last few months among penniless musicians worried that the supply of secondhand instruments might dry up, but it really grew strong when one of Japan's most well-known and richest musicians, composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, became a spokesperson for the group.An Internet petition and protest march followed and by last week Sakamoto was gracing the evening television news and newspaper pages campaigning against the new restrictions.But the ministry remained unmoved -- until Tuesday when the first cracks in its resolve appeared and it decided to exempt a small number of vintage electronic instruments and other products such as\u00a0movie projectors.Following another news conference on Thursday in which\u00a0Sakamoto and other prominent Japanese musicians again criticized the new law and the ministry, the stage was set for a compromise.It emerged on Friday and came courtesy of a loophole in the law: While goods sold need to be recertified, those being rented don't fall under the new regulations. Thus, a solution was found. Shops will be allowed to rent the goods to customers until they have enough time to visit the customer's houses and recertify the items to PSE standards.METI has admitted it won't check to see if the shops really follow through on their promise. So everything's set for the compromise in which\u00a0secondhand stores continue to sell goods and the ministry pretends nothing is wrong with the world.It won't stay this way forever. METI says it will let the rental loophole be exploited only until enough retesting equipment is deployed at centers nationwide to give businesses time to recertify any stock in shops and that's expected to take a few months. Private sales between individuals are not addressed by the law.Secondhand goods are a big business in Japan, but shopping is very hit-or-miss. Most neighborhoods in Japan feature at least one secondhand store -- typically called a recycle shop -- and they range from a treasure trove of exotic items waiting to be discovered, such as\u00a0vacuum-tube amplifiers, to little more than junk.