Competition Law in Japan: An Overview of Developments, 2016 to mid-2017

CPI Asia Column edited by Vanessa Yanhua Zhang (Global Economics Group) present:

Competition Law in Japan: An Overview of Developments, 2016 to mid-2017By Etsuko Kameoka (Van Bael & Bellis, Brussels) & Mel Marquis (EUI, Florence and LUMSA, Rome) 

Summary: This overview covers selected developments in Japanese competition law during 2016 and roughly the first half of 2017 (through the summer). One of the most important developments concerns the pending review of the fining system of the Japan Fair Trade Commission; this system is likely to be adjusted in order to give the JFTC discretion when imposing ‘surcharges’. In 2017 the JFTC also revised its Guidelines on Distribution Systems. In the areas of cartel enforcement and merger control, the level of the JFTC’s activity has remained relatively stable compared to previous years. In relation to alleged unfair trade practices, the JFTC now appears prepared to accept commitments (i.e., ‘voluntary measures’) in order to resolve certain cases early. This suggests an early implementation of a more formal reform scheduled to take effect when the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (without the U.S.) enters into force. The envisaged formal commitment procedure is a part of the Japanese law implementing the TPP (adopted on 9 December 2016), which is expected to take effect in Japan regardless of the TPP’s own fate. In the meantime, the JFTC’s provisional and informal use of a commitment procedure may sign…

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