Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu updates

Does Interest Rate Restriction Act apply to corporate bonds?
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Capital Markets
  • 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
  • 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
  • Capital Markets
  • 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
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • 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.

New plea bargaining system in practice
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • White Collar Crime
  • Japan
  • 12 August 2019

Since Japan's first plea bargaining system was introduced in June 2018, prosecutors have used plea bargains in two cases, the second of which led to the dramatic arrest of Carlos Ghosn, former CEO and chair of Renault-Nissan, on the tarmac of Haneda Airport in November 2018. The one-year anniversary of the new system therefore seems like an appropriate time to take stock of the first cases and examine the implications for the future.

Radio Act amended to promote innovation using foreign WiFi and Bluetooth devices
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Product Regulation & Liability
  • Japan
  • 08 August 2019

The Diet recently amended the Radio Act to provide simple procedures for using radio equipment that has not been technically certified in Japan for experimental purposes. The amendments are expected to foster innovation with regard to technology-related products by addressing the challenge faced by foreign manufacturers and other business operators that have struggled to bring prototype products with WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities into Japan for experimental purposes.

Whistleblowing certification regime launched
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • White Collar Crime
  • Japan
  • 13 May 2019

Over the past decade, a number of significant regulatory and compliance issues have affected large multinationals based in Japan. As such, the Consumer Affairs Agency recently created a certification regime for corporate whistleblowing systems, which is designed to incentivise businesses to voluntarily enhance their own whistleblowing systems and thereby gain the trust of various stakeholders, including shareholders, counterparties and consumers.

Amendments to Financial Instruments and Exchange Act
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Capital Markets
  • Japan
  • 30 April 2019

Cabinet recently submitted a bill to the 198th session of the Diet to amend, among other acts, the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act and the Payment Services Act. Among other things, the amendments introduce new regulations for security-type digital tokens (ie, initial coin offerings and security token offerings) and clarify that digital tokens issued in consideration for crypto assets will be regarded as deemed securities.

Amendments to Payment Services Act
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Banking
  • Japan
  • 26 April 2019

Cabinet recently submitted a bill to the 198th session of the Diet to amend, among other acts, the Payment Services Act (PSA). The PSA amendments aim to strengthen the regulation of virtual currency exchange service providers. Among other things, the changes concern crypto asset custody, the advertisement and solicitation of crypto assets and crypto asset margin transactions.

Recharacterisation of product risks
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Product Regulation & Liability
  • Japan
  • 18 April 2019

Although product compliance has always been an important issue for manufacturers, it has historically been overshadowed by safety-related product risks, and considerations regarding product compliance have typically been integrated with other product risks. However, manufacturers' awareness of the risks associated with product compliance has grown and it is now a top priority. The catalyst for this shift in attitude was a recent spate of data falsification cases.

New commitment procedure under Anti-monopoly Act
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Competition & Antitrust
  • Japan
  • 18 April 2019

A new commitment procedure was recently introduced to the Anti-monopoly Act (AMA), enabling enterprises to voluntarily resolve suspected violations of the AMA with the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC). If a commitment is approved, the conduct of the enterprise concerned will not be considered a violation of the AMA and the enterprise will not be subject to legal penalties. The new procedure may lead to more active enforcement by the JFTC.

Amendments to regulations on working hours and paid annual leave
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Japan
  • 10 April 2019

A number of amendments to Japan's labour and employment laws recently took effect. Among other things, the amendments concern the monitoring of employee working hours, paid annual leave, the so-called 'highly professional system' and overtime limits. Employers should ensure that their policies and practices comply with the amendments to ensure an easy transition to Japan's new employment framework.

Determining recoverable damages following material misstatements in securities registration statements
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Capital Markets
  • Japan
  • 02 April 2019

If a securities registration statement contains a material misstatement, investors that acquire securities through the relevant offering can hold the issuing company liable for related damages. However, it is unclear what level of damages is recoverable if the issuing company successfully proves that the loss incurred by the investor is at least partly attributable to an unrelated factor or circumstance. A recent Supreme Court judgment has provided some clarity in this regard.

Fixed overtime payment arrangements
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Japan
  • 27 March 2019

Under Japanese law, employers must – in principle – pay an allowance to employees who work more than eight hours per day or 40 hours per week. As such, from an employer's perspective, it is practical to include an employee's overtime allowance in their base salary where possible. However, for an employee's overtime allowance to be validly included in their base salary, certain requirements must be satisfied. These requirements are a hot topic in Japanese legal practice.

Kyoto District Court rules on raising of capital by third-party allotment
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Capital Markets
  • Japan
  • 08 January 2019

The Kyoto District Court recently ruled in favour of a shareholder's petition that a listed issuer cease an offering of its new shares by third-party allotment on the grounds that the offering had been conducted through an 'extremely unfair method', despite having been approved by a resolution at the issuer's shareholders' meeting. The court adopted the main purpose rule in accordance with prior court rulings and concluded that the share offering's main purpose had been to reduce the petitioning shareholder's shareholding.

Bond offerings under Japanese securities law
Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu
  • Capital Markets
  • Japan
  • 18 December 2018

Foreign private issuers' bonds that are listed on a Japanese securities exchange, such as the Tokyo Pro-Bond Market (TPBM), are subject to both the insider trading rules and the fair disclosure rules under Japanese law, while non-listed bonds (so-called 'Samurai bonds') are not. This article provides a brief explanation of the rules that apply to offerings of Samurai bonds and bonds listed on the TPBM under Japanese securities law.