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.
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.
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.
The leniency programme for surcharge payments in case of cartel and bid rigging was introduced into the Anti-monopoly Law over a year ago. Among other things, the first company to apply for leniency before the commencement of the commission's investigation receives total immunity from the surcharge payment; the second company to apply for leniency receives a 50% reduction of the surcharge payment.
In accordance with Article 24 of the Anti-monopoly Act, private entities (including business enterprises and consumers) may seek a court injunction ordering business enterprises to cease engaging in unfair business practices where private business enterprises or consumers are likely to suffer significant damage. This update provides an overview of the court injunction system under Article 24 of act.