Message from Chairman(March 2013)
Inaugural Message from Chairman Sugimoto
This time, I assume the position of the Chairman of the Japan Fair Trade Commission (“JFTC”) and I am keenly aware of the significant responsibility to be at the helm of the appropriate management of competition policy in Japan.
The recent economic environments surrounding our country are changing drastically and facing difficult conditions. Against the backdrop, it makes all the more important that JFTC carries its mission to promote fair and free competition, thereby, vitalizing our economy and protecting consumer welfare. Our efforts to promote competition policy including the enforcement of the Antimonopoly Act (“AMA”) aim to ensure fair and competitive market, thereby making economic activities further vibrant. That provides a vital infrastructure in the direction of stimulating and supporting the growth of Japanese economy. Therefore, I reckon that our efforts to promote competition policy including strict and appropriate enforcement of the AMA with responding to actual economic state in a prompt manner is to secure a vital foundation in seeking the robust development of our economy.
Specifically, first of all, it is important that the JFTC is committed to ensure rigorous and efficient enforcement of the AMA. Strict law enforcement against violations of the AMA leads to encouraging Japanese economy as well as contributing to consumer benefit. Thus, the JFTC must continue stringently and actively countering price-fixing cartels and bid-rigging including that facilitated by procurer side which has a serious impact on the lives of people. Meanwhile, the JFTC will pursue appropriate and swift reviews of mergers and acquisitions.
Secondly, from the view point of fair trade practice promotion, the JFTC is needed to adequately regulate the practices that may unjustly cause disadvantages to small and medium-sized enterprises. Trade practices that may cause unfair disadvantages to small and medium-sized enterprises; such as, abuses of superior bargaining positions, sales at unjustly low prices and other types of unfair trade practices, and violations of the Subcontract Act should not exist. Whereas the business environments surrounding small and medium-sized enterprises have also been aggravated, it is, I recognize, imperative for us to tackle such unlawful business practices in a stringent and active manner while taking measures to prevent such practices.
In addition, at the time when the raise in consumption tax rate is implemented, the JFTC will also play a steady role in our government’s integral efforts to encourage smooth and proper shifting of consumption tax. The JFTC should take various measures to address this issue.
Thirdly, it is essential to further fair and free competition that enterprises autonomously engage in competitive business activities, in addition to the rigorous law enforcement by the JFTC against unlawful conducts. In this context, the JFTC also makes more efforts to enhance competition environment such as the promotion of corporate compliance culture with the AMA and the prevention of involvement of central- and local-governmental procurers in bid-rigging conspiracies.
With rapidly globalizing economy and increased cross-border business activities as well as the high growth of Asian economy, more and more needs are emerging to cooperate and coordinate with overseas competition authorities in enforcement arena, particularly for addressing international cartels and mergers. Besides the field of law enforcement, promotion of international liaison with overseas competition authorities through various cooperation frameworks, bilateral or multilateral, is becoming an important issue. The JFTC needs to make contributions to these agendas that are expected as Japanese competition authority.
We will continue striving for the fulfillment of the JFTC’s mission with the other commissioners, honestly listening to opinions from all parties concerned. We appreciate your continued supports and encouragement.