Latest updates

Whistleblowing certification regime – update
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • White Collar Crime
  • Japan
  • 14 December 2020

Following a number of significant public scandals which stemmed from regulatory and compliance failures, the Consumer Affairs Agency launched an investigation which ultimately led to the creation of the whistleblowing compliance management system, a certification regime for corporate whistleblowing systems. This article provides an overview of the regime and analyses the success of the self-declaration of conformity system.

Amendments to Child Care and Family Care Leave Act
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Japan
  • 14 October 2020

At present, employees can take a half-day to care for a sick or injured child or family member. In order to allow employees to take such care-related leave more flexibly, the Child Care and Family Care Leave Act has been amended, effective as of 1 January 2021, to allow employees to take such time off on an hourly basis. Employers must ensure that the relevant rules of employment are amended and up to date before the amended act enters into force.

Court rules in Japan's first plea bargaining case
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • White Collar Crime
  • Japan
  • 14 September 2020

The plea bargaining system, which came into effect in 2018, allows suspects and defendants to enter into negotiations with prosecutors whereby evidence of others' criminal conduct can be provided in return for criminal charges being reduced or dropped. This article examines Japan's first bribery conviction involving plea bargaining, which has been successfully appealed to the Tokyo High Court. This case is significant because it will likely influence how public prosecutors use the plea bargaining system in future.

Recent amendments to Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Banking & Financial Services
  • Japan
  • 07 July 2020

In light of the global trend to further regulate foreign direct investments from a national security viewpoint, the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act of Japan (FEFTA) and regulations thereunder were recently subject to amendments which drew particular attention from Japanese stock market participants concerned about the potential negative impact thereof. This article provides a brief explanation of the amendments to the FEFTA.

Amendments to foreign direct investment regulations on foreign investment in Japanese technology companies
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Corporate Finance/M&A
  • Japan
  • 24 June 2020

Amendments to the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act, which regulates foreign direct investment (FDI) in Japan, as well as its related cabinet orders, ministerial ordinances and public notifications, came into force and was fully implemented as of 7 June 2020. The amendments are a continuation of recent changes that have been made to Japan's FDI regulations. This article provides an overview of the amendments with a particular focus on topics relating to businesses in the technology field.

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on employment
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Japan
  • 27 May 2020

In April 2020 the government declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, prefectural governors have requested certain industries to suspend their business operations. This article provides information for employers on how to handle employment matters during the COVID-19 crisis, including employment adjustment subsidies, salary reductions and dismissals.

Corporate risk when officers or employees have criminal convictions
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • White Collar Crime
  • Japan
  • 25 May 2020

Companies in Japan that operate in sectors which require permits or licences (eg, the aviation, banking, pharmaceutical, construction, outsourcing and waste disposal sectors) risk having their licences revoked if their officers or certain employees receive a criminal conviction. This article explains the circumstances in which a company's licence may be revoked and sets out certain measures that companies can take to protect themselves against this risk.

Extension of filing deadlines for disclosure documents in response to COVID-19 outbreak
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Banking & Financial Services
  • Japan
  • 12 May 2020

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Financial Services Agency has announced an extension of the deadlines to file certain mandatory disclosure documents, including annual securities reports. This article explains this unprecedented measure taken in recognition of issuers' difficulties in preparing their disclosure documents in light of the current COVID-19 crisis.

Act on the Protection of Personal Information amended
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media
  • Japan
  • 17 April 2020

A bill to amend part of the Act on the Protection of Personal Information was recently submitted to the Japanese Diet. The bill's main provisions will come into force within two years from the date of their promulgation. This article examines the parts of the bill which are expected to have a significant impact on ongoing business practices.

Cybersecurity in Japan: being aware of your business partners' risks
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media
  • Japan
  • 28 February 2020

A recent high-profile theft of hard drives containing sensitive personal data has highlighted the need for Japan-based companies to ensure that their cybersecurity measures include processes for disposing of personal data that has been entrusted to them and reviewing their security controls regarding business partners who may come into contact with personal data. The case involved an employee at an IP recycling company who stole nearly 4,000 data storage devices that were destined for disposal.

Cybersecurity in Japan: being aware of your business partners' risks
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • White Collar Crime
  • Japan
  • 24 February 2020

A recent high-profile theft of hard drives containing sensitive personal data has highlighted the need for Japan-based companies to ensure that their cybersecurity measures include processes for disposing of personal data that has been entrusted to them and reviewing their security controls regarding business partners who may come into contact with personal data. The case involved an employee at an IP recycling company who stole nearly 4,000 data storage devices that were destined for disposal.

Personal Information Protection Commission – recent trends
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media
  • Japan
  • 24 January 2020

In recent months, the Personal Information Protection Commission (PPC) has been proactive in publicising cases of data breaches that have had a significant social impact, together with the names of the companies, even when the PPC did not exercise its supervisory authority over the companies in question. Whether this trend will continue should be carefully monitored.

Does Interest Rate Restriction Act apply to corporate bonds?
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Banking & Financial Services
  • Japan
  • 10 December 2019

Interest rates applicable to loans made in Japan are subject to the Interest Rate Restriction Act, which is Japan's usury law. For decades, legal experts and others questioned whether this regulation also applied to corporate bonds, thereby affording bond issuers the same protections against high interest rates as those enjoyed by borrowers. This longstanding question appears to have been resolved by a recent Tokyo District Court judgment.

Public consultation on appropriate choice and use of Japanese yen interest rate benchmarks
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Banking & Financial Services
  • Japan
  • 01 November 2019

To address the risk that the London Interbank Offered Rate may be discontinued, the Cross-Industry Committee on Japanese Yen Interest Rate Benchmarks was established to recommend the appropriate choice and use of Japanese yen interest rate benchmarks depending on the type of financial transaction involved and develop transition plans for a new framework enabling the use of Japanese yen interest rate benchmarks. The committee recently published a consultation paper in this regard.

Public consultation on appropriate choice and use of Japanese yen interest rate benchmarks
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Banking & Financial Services
  • Japan
  • 29 October 2019

To address the risk that the London Interbank Offered Rate may be discontinued, the Cross-Industry Committee on Japanese Yen Interest Rate Benchmarks was established to recommend the appropriate choice and use of Japanese yen interest rate benchmarks depending on the type of financial transaction involved and develop transition plans for a new framework enabling the use of Japanese yen interest rate benchmarks. The committee recently published a consultation paper in this regard.

New corporate group governance guidelines
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • White Collar Crime
  • Japan
  • 28 October 2019

Certain large corporate groups in Japan have been criticised for having antiquated group governance structures that do not provide adequate protection against corporate malfeasance. It has been recognised that poor group design and governance often play at least an indirect role in white collar crime. As part of ongoing efforts to address these issues, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry recently published the Practical Guidelines on Group Governance Systems.

Ministry relaxes rules for affixing technical standard conformity marks
  • Product Regulation & Liability
  • Japan
  • 24 October 2019

Following the diversification and miniaturisation of electronic equipment, the means by which technical standard conformity marks must be affixed received significant attention from business operators that sell or import electronic equipment in Japan. As such, the Ministry of International Affairs and Communications recently relaxed the restrictions regarding marks indicating technical standard conformity certification or approval under the Radio Act and the Telecommunication Business Act.

Recent developments regarding attorney-client privilege
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Japan
  • 17 October 2019

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Japan is one of only three OECD jurisdictions to not recognise attorney-client privilege. In response to discussions and lobbying, the Diet has announced amendments to the Anti-monopoly Law which will partially introduce attorney-client privilege in administrative investigations pursuant to ordinances under the law or certain prescribed guidelines.

New protection for Big Data under Unfair Competition Prevention Act
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Japan
  • 05 September 2019

The Unfair Competition Prevention Act was recently amended to afford new legal protection to Big Data. Although this new legal protection is expected to increase data use, in order to qualify as protected data, data must be managed accordingly. Thus, all parties which use Big Data in their business should review their management systems, internal rules and agreements regarding the handling of data in order to ensure that such data can fall under the definition of protected data set out in the act.

New protection for Big Data under Unfair Competition Prevention Act
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media
  • Japan
  • 30 August 2019

The Unfair Competition Prevention Act was recently amended to afford new legal protection to Big Data. Although this new legal protection is expected to increase data use, in order to qualify as protected data, data must be managed accordingly. Thus, all parties which use Big Data in their business should review their management systems, internal rules and agreements regarding the handling of data in order to ensure that such data can fall under the definition of protected data set out in the act.