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.
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.
The government recently commenced the first tender process under Japan's new offshore wind law for a floating wind project off the coast of Goto City. This article summarises the key elements of the Occupancy Guidelines for the Goto Offshore Area which, although specific to the Goto project, provide insight as to the Japanese authorities' general approach towards the implementation of the offshore wind law and how the tender processes for the other identified sites will proceed.
In June 2020 a bill to increase convenience and protect users of financial services, known as the Financial Service Intermediary Act, passed the Diet. The bill, which is expected to be enacted by the end of 2021, will amend the Act on Sales, etc of Financial Instruments and introduce a new financial service intermediary system. This article sets out what the new act will mean for insurers, insurance agents and brokers.
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 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.
The development, production and provision of therapeutic medications, vaccines, medical devices and infection control products are necessary to diagnose, prevent, contain and treat COVID-19. Patent owners and other IP rights holders must therefore cooperate with each other and support new ideas to prevent the spread of COVID-19 without hindering development in the IP sector. To this end, an IP-related solution was recently announced in Japan – namely, the Open COVID-19 Declaration.
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.
The Tokyo High Court recently rendered a judgment regarding the amount of personal damages owed to victims of a personal information leak by a third party. The decision follows a Supreme Court judgment which determined that in the case of a personal information leak by a company which collected this information for educational purposes, the affected customers could claim damages for their mental suffering even though they could not prove economic loss.
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.
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.
The proposed amendment to the Act on Special Measures Concerning the Procurement of Renewable Energy-Sourced Electricity by Electric Utilities will introduce a feed-in premium (FIP) programme. The proposed FIP programme provides that power producers will receive a premium in addition to the market price for the electricity which they generate instead of the fixed electricity price determined by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry under the current feed-in-tariff programme.
As the Civil Code is the basic private law in Japan, the amended version will have a significant impact on the legal aspects of people's lives and their business relationships. Moreover, many of its provisions will affect IP licence agreements. This article addresses these provisions in greater detail, including in relation to non-conformity in contract subject matter, contract cancellation and pre-formulated terms and conditions.
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.
In 2017 the Civil Code, which was enacted in 1896, was substantially amended for the first time in more than a century. Although the amendments, which came into effect on 1 April 2020, cover a broad range of issues, many were made to reflect existing case law and commonly accepted interpretations of the pre-amended Civil Code. However, there are some changes which may affect current practices in the energy sector.
Since April 2018, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has required business operators involved in solar power generation to set aside a certain amount of funds in preparation for the decommissioning of solar power plants. However, as of January 2019, less than 5% of business operators had complied with this rule. As such, METI established a working group to tackle the problems with the discretionary decommissioning reserve regime.
Cabinet recently approved the Proposal to Amend the Electricity Business Act for the Purposes of Establishing a Resilient and Sustainable Electricity System. The bill introduces a feed-in premium programme, under which energy developers developing projects after April 2022 may receive a certain premium on top of the market price for the electricity that they generate.
It appears inevitable that the coronavirus pandemic will affect Japan's solar energy industry. For example, China's public health measures may have an adverse effect on the shipment of photovoltaic modules and other equipment manufactured there, on which many Japanese developers rely. Further, if the government declares a national emergency, this may inhibit engineering, procurement and construction contractors' ability to perform their obligations to develop and construct solar projects.
Japan's mining industry has recently enjoyed renewed interest thanks to technological advancements that have identified or made accessible various significant on-shore and offshore mineral deposits. This article examines the Mining Law – established in 1950 – and its application. Notably, the law distinguishes between minerals generally and those that are determined by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Infrastructure to be especially important to the Japanese economy.
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.