Japan: Post-pandemic JFTC confronts antitrust violations with more proactive enforcement

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In summary

This article provides an overview of developments relating to antitrust law in Japan and enforcements made by the Japan Fair Trade Commission from January 2022 to January 2023.

Discussion points

  • Cease-and-desist orders and surcharge (administrative fines) payment orders for seven cartel or bid-rigging cases – total amount of surcharges imposed approximately ¥2.5 billion
  • Five cases closed under commitment procedure
  • JFTC activity and enforcement trends regarding abuse of superior bargaining position

Referenced in this article

  • Japan Fair Trade Commission
  • Act No. 54 of 1947, as amended
  • Cease-and-desist orders and surcharge payment orders against pharmaceutical wholesalers over coordination of bids by Japan Community Healthcare Organisation
  • Approval of commitment plan submitted by Amer Sports Japan, Inc and Wilson Sporting Goods Co
  • Approval of commitment plan submitted by Booking.com BV
  • Approval of commitment plan submitted by Expedia Lodging Partner Services Sàrl
  • Approval of commitment plan submitted by SCINEX CORPORATION and SMARTVALUE Co, Ltd
  • Approval of commitment plan submitted by ICHIRAN Inc


The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) is the enforcement authority in Japan for anticompetitive conduct prohibited by Japanese antitrust law –
Act No. 54 of 1947, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-monopoly Act (AMA). The four main regulation areas of the AMA are:

  • cartels and bid rigging;
  • private monopolisation;
  • unfair trade practices; and
  • merger control.

The JFTC may issue a cease-and-desist order against a violation of the AMA and may impose surcharges (administrative fines) for certain conduct designated by the AMA. Throughout 2022 and during the covid-19 pandemic, anti-cartel enforcement activities continued to be an important part of the JFTC’s enforcement efforts. The JFTC has also been taking proactive enforcement action in a number of non-cartel cases, including vertical restraints. The JFTC has been conducting several activities in relation to the abuse of a superior bargaining position, which shows the JFTC’s strong concerns about issues arising from this type of conduct.

The amendment to the AMA came into full force in December 2020, one-and-a-half years after it was enacted in June 2019. This amendment includes the revision of the surcharges scheme and the leniency programme. In accordance with the amendment, Japanese attorney–client privilege was introduced under the JFTC’s rules on investigation. No enforcement or investigation under the revised leniency programme and the aforementioned privilege was announced in 2022.


In 2022, the JFTC issued cease-and-desist orders and surcharge payment orders for seven cartel or bid-rigging cases. The total amount of surcharges imposed was approximately ¥2.5 billion. The JFTC did not issue any cease-and-desist or surcharge payment orders for cartel or bid-rigging cases in 2021. The 2022 amount was low compared to recent years (¥4.3 billion in 2020 and
¥69.3 billion in 2019), but it showed signs of recovery from the covid-19 pandemic.

The media has reported a number of dawn raids by the JFTC for suspected anticompetitive conduct involved in cartels or bid rigging, including in the utilities market. The JFTC is set to issue cease-and-desist and surcharge payment orders, which are expected to be record-breaking, against major players in the electric market. In addition, the JFTC has been reported to have conducted dawn raids with the Public Prosecutors’ Office due to the suspicion that some adverting agencies and sporting event planning companies were involved in bid rigging for the test events of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2021.

While the cease-and-desist and surcharge payment orders in cartel and bid-rigging cases in 2022 were issued only for conduct related to domestic markets, the JFTC also maintains a close relationship with competition agencies in other jurisdictions in respect of international cartels.

In addition, the JFTC has a policy to seek criminal penalties in cases that:

  • it considers as serious or having a widespread impact on consumer welfare; or
  • involve firms or industries that are repeat offenders, or that have not complied with administrative measures issued by the JFTC.1

There was no case of the JFTC filing criminal charges in 2022.

Bid rigging by pharmaceutical wholesalers

On 30 March 2022, the JFTC issued cease-and-desist orders and imposed surcharges (¥423.85 million in total) on three pharmaceutical wholesalers for their conduct in bid rigging and price negotiations for the sale of drugs to the Japan Community Healthcare Organisation (JCHO).[2]

The case came to light because of the 28 November 2019 dawn raid by the JFTC against four wholesalers and, later, the 13 October 2020 dawn raid that was jointly conducted by the JFTC and the special investigation unit of the Public Prosecutors’ Office. The JFTC filed criminal accusations in December 2020 with the Public Prosecutor General against three of the four pharmaceutical wholesale companies and the seven executives involved,[3] and the Tokyo District Court fined the three companies ¥250 million each in June 2021. Seven former executives of the three companies were sentenced to between 18 and 24 months’ imprisonment, suspended for a term of three years. One of the four wholesalers is reported to have been the first applicant for leniency in the case and the JFTC refrained from filing criminal charges against the company.

Through the investigations, the JFTC found that, in June 2016 in a conference room in Tokyo, five of the seven accused employees set the bid success rate of each of the three companies for orders from the JCHO in relation to the 57 hospitals that the organisation operates. To accomplish the set success rates, the employees agreed on the successful bidder in each category of the ordered drugs and conspired to tender at prices that would allow the chosen bidder to win the bids. The JCHO holds the same tender every two years and, in June 2018, six of the seven accused employees agreed to a similar arrangement for the bids for the JCHO’s 57 hospitals.

The JFTC did not issue a cease-and-desist order against one of the four wholesalers, and the company was exempted from surcharges for both bid rigging and price negotiations in 2016 and 2018 as the first applicant for leniency in the case. Because the other three companies also applied for leniency, they received a 30 or 50 per cent reduction in surcharges. The amount of the surcharges was determined by subtracting half of the criminal fines imposed by the 2020 court decision from the base calculation of surcharges.

It is reported that, in 2021, the JFTC raided six pharmaceutical wholesalers in the Kyushu region, including the above four companies or subsidiaries. The JFTC is expected to conclude its investigation into this case in 2023.

Private monopolisation

Private monopolisation is one of the four main regulation areas under the AMA and can be divided into two types: exclusionary and control. There are not many precedents that the JFTC found to be in violation of the regulation of private monopolisation.

Mainami Aviation Services case

The JFTC issued a cease-and-desist order on 7 July 2020[4] and a surcharge payment order (¥6 million) on 19 February 2021[5] against Mainami Aviation Services Co Ltd for its anticompetitive conduct, which was deemed an exclusionary type of private monopolisation. The last cease-and-desist order for an exclusionary type of private monopolisation was issued in 2009, which was also the first case in which the JFTC imposed surcharges for private monopolisation. Because Mainami Aviation Services continued the alleged conduct when the JFTC issued the cease-and-desist order in 2020 and the JFTC could not determine the amount of surcharge, the JFTC was unable to issue a surcharge payment order at that time.

Mainami Aviation Services supplies aviation fuel at airports located in Japan. At Yao Airport in Osaka Prefecture, the company was the sole supplier until a new company entered the market in 2016. After the new supplier started offering fuel at Yao Airport, Mainami Aviation Services notified its customers that it would not provide fuel to those who purchased from the new supplier and required customers to sign a disclaimer absolving Mainami Aviation Services from any responsibility for accidents caused by mixing its fuel with the new entrant’s fuel.

Mainami Aviation Services filed a lawsuit to cancel the cease-and-desist order and the surcharge payment order, arguing that the alleged conduct was a result of safety and quality control, and that it did not intend to exclude its competitors. In February 2022, the Tokyo District Court dismissed its claim and the company decided to appeal the court ruling to the Tokyo High Court.

Unfair trade practices

The AMA prohibits unfair trade practices, which comprise 12 types of conduct:

  • refusal to deal (concerted or other);
  • discriminatory pricing and discriminatory treatment;
  • unjust low-priced sales;
  • deceptive customer inducement;
  • unjust high-priced purchasing;
  • tie-in sales;
  • abuse of superior bargaining position;
  • resale price restriction;
  • dealing on exclusive terms;
  • dealing on restrictive terms;
  • interference with competitors’ transactions; and
  • interference with internal operations of competitors.

The JFTC may issue a cease-and-desist order for unfair trade practices and may impose surcharges for certain types of unfair trade practice, as follows:

  • concerted refusal to deal;
  • discriminatory pricing;
  • unjust low-priced sales;
  • abuse of superior bargaining position; and
  • resale price restriction.

Abuse of superior bargaining position

Recently, the JFTC has been proactively taking action against anticompetitive conduct deemed as abuse of a superior bargaining position, in particular against the activities of platform operators. The relationship between franchisor and franchisee has also been attracting attention from the JFTC in terms of abusive conduct by franchisors.

When a company, by making use of its superior bargaining position over another party, establishes trade terms and conditions that are disadvantageous to the other party in light of normal business practices, it may be deemed to be committing abuse of a superior bargaining position.

The term ‘superior bargaining position’ means a relatively superior bargaining position when compared to the other transacting party. It is not required to have a dominant market position or an absolutely dominant bargaining position in a relevant market. For example, Company A makes a request that is substantially disadvantageous to Company B. Because Company B’s business would be substantially impeded if Company B encounters difficulty in continuing to deal with Company A, Company B is unable to refuse such a disadvantageous request. In such a case, Company A is deemed to have a superior bargaining position over Company B. In determining the presence or absence of a superior bargaining position, the JFTC considers the following:

  • the degree of dependence of Company B on transactions with Company A;
  • the position of Company A in the market;
  • the possibility of Company B changing its business counterpart; and
  • other facts that show that Company B must carry out transactions with Company A.

This type of unfair trade practice has been found traditionally in the relationship between suppliers and retailers. The JFTC has been trying to expand the application of this regulation to several sectors – including digital markets, franchise businesses, the credit card market, start-up businesses and freelance businesses – and continues to monitor business activities in these sectors from the perspective of abuse of a superior bargaining position.

In 2022, the JFTC conducted a survey into whether there were any issues concerning abuse of superior bargaining positions in 22 industries, including general construction, food manufacturing, transportation, and the wholesale and retail industry. One of the JFTC’s main concerns was that it may be difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises to pass on cost increases to their larger trading partners due to recent market circumstances, including the significant increase in crude oil prices and the rapid depreciation of the yen. If a company that has a superior bargaining position does not reflect increases in costs such as those for labour, raw materials and energy in transaction prices, and leaves transaction prices unchanged without explaining the reasons, it may be deemed as abuse of a superior bargaining position. After performing questionnaire research into 80,000 contractors and 30,000 contractees, the JFTC probed approximately 300 companies for more details. In December 2022, the JFTC released a report of the survey and announced that it had sent an alert letter to approximately 4,000 companies that it found to have been involved in problematic conduct in the context of abuse of a superior bargaining position.[6] In addition, the JFTC disclosed a list of companies that are major trading partners for many contractors and are involved in conduct that may be considered abuse of a superior bargaining position. Although the JFTC did not rule on whether these companies violated the AMA in this regard, it encouraged businesses to modify their potential anticompetitive conduct voluntarily.

Investigation closed under commitment procedures

Since the introduction of the commitment procedures in December 2018 under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the JFTC has closed several investigations regarding unfair trade practices under the commitment procedures.

The guidelines on the commitment procedures[7] issued by the JFTC in September 2018 include the basic framework for the commitment procedures, such as the scope of application and requirements of commitment measures to be submitted for approval. These include examples such as cessation of the suspected violation, development of a compliance programme and amendments to contracts. The guidelines also clarify that the commitment procedures are not to be applied to:

  • hardcore cartels, including bid rigging and price fixing;
  • repeated suspected violations by the same entities within the preceding
    10 years; and
  • other vicious and serious suspected violations that would be subject to criminal prosecution.

The commitment procedures enable competition law concerns to be solved swiftly and potential anticompetitive conduct to be terminated. When the proposed commitment measures are approved by the JFTC, neither a cease-and-desist nor a surcharge payment order will be issued to the suspected party.

In 2022, five cases that the JFTC investigated were closed under the commitment procedures. Of the five cases, two cases related to restrictive conditions, two to interference with a competitor’s transactions and one to resale price maintenance (RPM).

Commitment accepted from Wilson Sporting Goods and Amer Sports Japan

One of the cases closed under the commitment procedures and that involved interference with a competitor’s transactions was an investigation into Wilson Sporting Goods (Wilson) and its subsidiary and sole authorised distributor in Japan, Amer Sports Japan (Amer) on suspicion of interfering with parallel importers’ transactions.

Amer had obtained Wilson tennis rackets for advanced players from Japanese parallel importers, who imported the tennis rackets from Wilson’s overseas authorised retailers and sold them in Japan at prices below Amer’s retail pricing. Upon Amer’s request, using the serial number information from hologram stickers on the products, Wilson warned overseas authorised distributors not to sell the tennis rackets to Japanese parallel importers. The JFTC found that this conduct might be considered prohibited interference with a competitor’s transactions under the AMA, as it prevented the Japanese parallel importers from importing from overseas-authorised distributors.

Wilson and Amer proposed commitments that included cessation of the alleged anticompetitive conduct, issuing notice to parallel importers about the cessation and conducting training for employees. In addition, Wilson proposed not to enforce any policy – with respect to the sale of the products in
Japan – prohibiting overseas-authorised distributors from selling the tennis rackets to Japanese parallel importers at their request (ie, not to impose restriction of passive sales to Japanese parallel importers on overseas distributors). Having accepted the commitment plan, the JFTC closed the case in March 2022[8] and did not rule on whether the alleged conduct of Wilson and Amer constituted infringement of the AMA. Accordingly, no sanctions (nor a cease-and-desist order) were imposed on Wilson or Amer. This is the first antitrust parallel imports case resolved under the commitment procedures and the first case where not only a domestic sales subsidiary but also its parent company in the United States were required to submit commitment plans.

Other cases closed under commitment procedures

The JFTC raided Rakuten, Expedia and Booking.com in April 2019 on the suspicion that these online travel booking companies imposed anticompetitive parity and most-favoured-nation clauses in their contracts with accommodation operators such as hotels. Expedia and Booking.com proposed commitment plans, which the JFTC accepted in March and June 2022, respectively,[9] following its acceptance of those proposed by Rakuten in October 2019.[10] The commitment proposed by the two companies included cessation of the alleged anticompetitive conduct, issuing a notice to accommodation operators and employees about the cessation, preparing a competition law compliance policy for transactions with accommodation operators, and conducting training for employees and compliance audits. The JFTC excluded narrow parity clauses, which only prohibit better offers on sales channels operated by the accommodation operators, from alleged anticompetitive parity clauses subject to the commitment procedures for Expedia and Booking.com. This decision was based on the JFTC’s recognition that many of the accommodation operators currently do not abide by narrow parity clauses under the contracts with Expedia and Booking.com, and the cheapest prices for their rooms are offered on their own website. Given that narrow parity clauses may give rise to issues under the AMA depending on the circumstances, the JFTC will monitor how narrow parity clauses are managed and what the effects of narrow parity clauses are on competition between online travel booking companies.

In another case, a service-providing company and a cloud solutions company, which provided website renewal services to municipalities, submitted commitments that the JFTC approved in June 2022.[11] Both companies urged municipalities that were considering ordering a redesign of their websites to include in the specifications that the content management system (CMS) produced by the two companies, which was not an open-sourced software, was essential for ensuring the information security of the websites instead of an open-sourced CMS. The JFTC had a view that these actions might be considered prohibited interference with a competitor’s transactions, as they prevented companies providing open-sourced CMSs from entering the competition for orders from municipalities. This was based on the understanding that even software that is not open-sourced may have vulnerabilities and there is no reason why the CMS introduced for the website should be a CMS that is not open-sourced software, and some municipalities decided to include a requirement that a CMS for their websites should not be open-sourced in accordance with the two companies’ suggestions. The companies proposed commitment plans that included:

  • ceasing the alleged anticompetitive conduct;
  • giving notice to municipalities and employees about the cessation;
  • preparing a competition law compliance policy for business with municipalities; and
  • conducting training for employees and compliance audits.

It is also noted that the alleged conduct by the two companies was indicated as problematic conduct in the reports concerning market studies on public procurement for information systems[12] and start-up businesses[13] published by the JFTC. It seems that the JFTC conducted the investigation into the two companies based on the market studies, which reflects the JFTC’s intention to strengthen links between its advocacy activities – including market
studies – and enforcement, as mentioned in the statement regarding the coordination between advocacy and enforcement published by the JFTC in June 2022.[14]

In addition, in May 2022, the JFTC approved the commitments proposed by a restaurant chain in relation to suspected RPM.[15] It was suspected that the restaurant chain might request retailers, itself or through wholesalers, not to sell its instant noodles at a discounted price from the recommended resale price. The commitments included:

  • ceasing the alleged anticompetitive conduct;
  • giving notice to the relevant wholesalers, retailers, consumers and employees about the cessation;
  • preparing a competition law compliance policy for business with wholesalers and retailers;
  • revising its working regulations to add disciplinary rules against employees involved in a violation of the AMA; and
  • conducting training for employees and compliance audits.

This is the first case in which the JFTC closed an investigation regarding RPM under the commitment procedures. For past RPM cases, the JFTC issued cease-and-desist orders after investigations were completed. The JFTC decided to accept the commitments proposed by the company rather than issue a cease-and-desist order, because that was most appropriate to promptly resolve the anticompetitive conduct and restore competition. In fact, the investigation was closed about four months after the JFTC commenced it.

Cases closed by accepting voluntary measures

The JFTC closed one case in 2022 after accepting the voluntary measures proposed by the suspected company, rather than accepting a commitment plan under the commitment procedures.[16]

This case was an investigation into Seven-Eleven Japan Co, Ltd (Seven-Eleven Japan), which is one of Japan’s major convenience store chains. The JFTC suspected that Seven-Eleven Japan might require its trading partners to bear the cost of preparing product descriptions for its own-brand products, which might give rise to an issue concerning abuse of a superior bargaining position. After Seven-Eleven Japan reported to the JFTC that it had voluntarily ceased the alleged conduct, the JFTC closed the investigation. This case arose after the JFTC’s investigation into a direct trading partner of Seven-Eleven Japan that imposed the cost of product descriptions on its subcontractors. The JFTC expressed its position that it would monitor an upstream or downstream market under the supply chain if any anticompetitive conduct is derived from such a market.


The number of merger filings at the JFTC has been relatively stable and we have seen a recovery from the slight decrease in the 2021 financial year (FY2021), which was presumably brought on by the covid-19 pandemic. From the financial year that ran from April 2021 to March 2022 (FY2022), the JFTC accepted 337 notifications (a 26.7 per cent increase from FY2021), of which 328 were cleared in Phase I (including 248 with early termination), eight were voluntarily withdrawn by the parties and one was brought into Phase II. In terms of the competitive landscape between the parties, 188 involved horizontal overlaps, 139 involved vertical relationships and 142 involved conglomerate business combinations.[17] The JFTC reviewed 14 transactions that did not meet the filing thresholds when a party consulted with the JFTC voluntarily or the JFTC commenced a review, which was an increase from nine cases in FY2021.

Effective use of pre-notification consultation with the JFTC was key to the high Phase I clearance rate. Parties may benefit from informal discussions with the JFTC during the pre-notification phase, which often extends to substantive competition issues. Sometimes, the parties discuss and agree on remedies to obtain conditional clearance during Phase I.

The JFTC is also keen to employ economic analysis in complex cases. Out of 10 notable decisions published by the JFTC for FY2022, three involved the use of economic analysis.

In June 2022, the JFTC invited third parties to submit information and opinions concerning a proposed acquisition by Microsoft Corporation of Activision Blizzard, Inc.[18] While the JFTC generally runs this kind of public market test during the Phase II review, the process for this case was implemented during the pre-notification phase. While the proposed transaction has been scrutinised by multiple antitrust agencies globally and some, including the US Federal Trade Commission, have raised substantive competition concerns, the JFTC has not yet expressed its opinion and it may still be premature to predict the outcome of the review.

To facilitate the survival of regional banks and bus operators from the predicament caused by population decline, temporary legislation for a period of 10 years took effect in November 2020 to exempt mergers and joint operations between regional banks and bus operators from the merger control regulation on the conditions that:

  • the parties would be unable to survive without the proposed merger or joint operation; and
  • there is no concern that the parties would unreasonably increase prices or otherwise cause disadvantages to customers.

The competent regulatory authority and the JFTC are supposed to jointly review the eligibility for the exemption and monitor the parties’ behaviour following the transaction. In 2022, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism approved two proposed joint operations of regional bus operators in Nagasaki[19] and Hiroshima,[20] as well as the proposed joint operation between Shikoku Railway Company and Tokushima Bus Co, Ltd for competing routes in the southern area of Tokushima Prefecture.[21]

In addition, in March 2022, the Financial Services Agency approved the proposed integration of two major regional banks in Aomori Prefecture.[22] With their combined market share being around 70 per cent, the parties proposed remedial commitments including the monitoring of interest rates and guarantee conditions that apply to loan transactions with small and medium-sized enterprises.

Sustainability and competition

To achieve goals for carbon neutrality and greenhouse gas emissions set by the Japanese government, business activities towards a green society are becoming more active and concrete. While certain green society business practices may give rise to antitrust issues, the JFTC decided to prepare guidelines to provide guidance on the application and enforcement of the AMA, and prevent anticompetitive conduct in relation to green society business practices.

The study group on guidelines for green society business practices was held from October to December 2022[23] and the draft guidelines were made available in January 2023 for a one-month public consultation.[24] The draft guidelines indicate that, while most of the collaborative actions for green society (including joint research and development as well as joint procurement) are not problematic, business practices intended to restrict prices, the volume of products or technologies may give rise to an issue under the AMA. It is also noted that draft guidelines include the JFTC’s views on 75 hypothetical scenarios, which will be helpful for businesses. The guidelines are expected to be published in early 2023.

Digital markets and e-commerce

A law affecting digital markets came into force on 1 February 2021 to ensure that platforms operate with transparency and fairness. Under this law, major overseas and domestic digital platform operators designated by the relevant authority (specified DPF providers) are required to:

  • disclose the terms and conditions of their contracts with users;
  • take other measures, including the establishment of procedures and administrative organs to ensure the fairness of transactions and dispute settlement procedures; and
  • submit annual reports and self-assessments to the relevant authority on the status of their implementation of the above measures.

Only large-scale online malls (where domestic sales in Japan of the operator and its users exceed ¥300 billion) and app stores (where domestic sales in Japan of the operator and its users exceed ¥200 billion) have been initially defined as specified DPF providers under the relevant rules. Digital platform operators that meet the thresholds have submitted notifications, and the relevant authority has designated five overseas and domestic platform operators – including Amazon, Rakuten, Yahoo Japan, Apple and Google – as specified DPF providers based on the notifications.[25]

The specified DPF providers have already submitted their first annual reports and self-assessments, and the relevant authority has reviewed the reports to assess their transparency and fairness. The assessment report was published in December 2022.[26] The assessment report indicated that the transparency and fairness of the specified DPF providers had improved but there were several issues that needed to be addressed. For example, when changing the terms and conditions of their contracts with users, the specified DPF providers should set a sufficient preparation period and provide a clear explanation for the changes with reasons. While there was no substantive antitrust issue pointed out in the assessment report, if the relevant authority finds any conduct that is deemed likely to violate the AMA, it will request that the JFTC take action under the AMA.

Market studies

The JFTC conducted several market studies and published reports on digital markets and other sectors, including cloud services,[27] public procurement for information systems[28] and credit card transactions.[29] While the JFTC did not find any specific anticompetitive conduct in these market studies, it did flag several potential cases of anticompetitive conduct and made the relevant parties aware.

With regard to the market research on cloud services, which was published in June 2022, the JFTC conducted a large-scale fact-finding survey on cloud services, mainly focusing on infrastructure as a service and platform as a service. The survey was conducted through several means, including interviews with cloud providers and associated businesses, questionnaires to users, and exchanging opinions with domestic experts and other competition authorities. The JFTC also issued an article 40 submission order under the AMA to request information from certain parties, which may induce fines for failure to provide information. The JFTC found from the survey that the cloud services market is becoming more concentrated with a significant increase in the market share of major cloud service providers and that there is a trend of almost no switching from cloud services currently in use to other cloud providers’ services. The JFTC indicated in the report that the market structure may become non-competitive due to the existing cloud services providers’ advantage in acquiring new users and a trend of less switching, which may cause competition concerns. The report also recommended efforts to be taken by cloud service providers and users to prevent the adverse effects of market concentration.

The JFTC has been conducting market studies regarding smartphone operating system markets, the app distribution market and news content distribution. It continues to carefully scrutinise the digital sector, as well as other sectors, and may conduct surveys or market research into these sectors if deemed necessary.

Outlook for 2023

The JFTC is expected to continue to focus on cartel enforcement, enforcement against vertical restraints (particularly in digital markets), merger control enforcement and advocacy activities. In the area of cartel enforcement, it is worth observing how the new leniency regimes and Japanese attorney–client privilege will be applied in cases going forwards.


[2] JFTC press release of 30 March 2022.

[3] JFTC press release of 9 December 2020.

[4] JFTC press release of 7 July 2020.

[5] JFTC press release of 19 February 2021.

[6] JFTC press release of 27 December 2020.

[8] JFTC press release of 25 March 2022.

[9] JFTC press release of 16 March 2022 and press release of 2 June 2022.

[10] JFTC press release of 25 October 2019.

[11] JFTC press release of 30 June 2022.

[12] JFTC press release of 8 February 2022.

[13] JFTC press release of 27 November 2020.

[14] JFTC press release of 16 June 2022.

[15] JFTC press release of 19 May 2022.

[16] JFTC press release of 22 December 2022.

[17] JFTC press release of 22 June 2022.

[18] JFTC press release of 16 June 2022.

[19] Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism (MLIT) press release of 18 March 2022.

[20] MLIT press release of 18 October 2022.

[21] MLIT press release of 18 March 2022.

[22] Financial Services Agency press release of 23 March 2022.

[23] JFTC press release of 12 October 2022.

[24] JFTC press release of 13 January 2023.

[25] Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) press release of 1 April 2021.

[26] METI press release of 22 December 2022.

[27] JFTC press release of 28 June 2022.

[28] JFTC press release of 8 February 2022.

[29] JFTC press release of 8 April 2022.

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