Japanese Leniency Program—Issues to be Considered

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Madoka Shimada, Sumito Nakano, Sep 16, 2015

The leniency program has played an important role in cartel investigations carried out by the Japan Fair Trade Commission, the sole competition authority in Japan, since the inception of the program in 2006. The program has frequently been used by applicants to obtain an exemption from, or reduction of, potential sanctions. It also informs the JFTC of cartel conduct and helps it obtain necessary information concerning such matters. This is similar to the goals and effects of leniency programs in other jurisdictions.

However, the Japanese leniency program has several unique characteristics when compared to leniency procedures in other jurisdictions such as the United States and European Union. Some of these unique characteristics pose potential problems to leniency applicants. This article gives an overview of: (i) cartel regulations in Japan, (ii) the Japanese leniency program, (iii) cooperation between the JFTC and foreign competition authorities, (iv) issues concerning Japanese cartel regulations and the Japanese leniency program, and (v) points to be considered when a foreign company plans to file for the leniency program with the JFTC.



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