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Enforcement Status of the Antimonopoly Act in FY2007(Summary)

May 21/2008
Japan Fair Trade Commission

Based on the policy where the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC)enforces the Antimonopoly Act(AMA)promptly and effectively, the JFTC has strictly and positively dealt with various types of violations of the AMA responding to social needs precisely, in particular; 1. price-fixing cartels and bid-riggings which have a great impact on people’s living; 2. unfair trade practices such as abuse of dominant bargaining position, unjust low price sales and discriminatory consideration which cause unfair disadvantages to small and medium-size enterprises(SMEs); and 3. hindrance of new entries in the fields of information technology, public utilities sectors and intellectual property which are key elements for promoting economic development.

1. Summary of cases investigated

  • In FY2007, the JFTC took legal measures against a total of 193 entrepreneurs in 24 cases.
  • In specific terms, the JFTC has effectively managed a variety of cases precisely responding to social needs, with 14 cases of bid-riggings, 6 cases of price-fixing cartels, 3 cases of unfair trade practices and 1 case of unjustly restricting the activities of the constituent entrepreneurs by the trade association.
  • In FY2007, the JFTC received 74 leniency applications.(The number of application amounts to 179 since January 2006.)
  • Prompt law enforcement: The average investigation period of all cases in which legal measures were taken in FY2007 was about nine months.
  • In the bid-rigging case over geological survey business and location survey planning business concerning main forest road projects ordered by the Japan Green Resources Agency, the JFTC filed criminal accusations with the Prosecutor General against 4 companies and 7 individuals.
  • In the bid-rigging cases over “civil engineering and construction projects ordered by the Defense Facilities Administration Agency” and “geological survey business and location survey planning business concerning main forest road projects ordered by the Japan Green Resources Agency”, it was found that some personnel of the ordering parties had been involved in bid riggings. Accordingly the JFTC notified this fact to the each ordering parties.
  • With respect to surcharge payment orders, the amount of payment confirmed in FY2007 was about 11.3 billion yen against 162 entrepreneurs.

Figure 1 “Numbers of cases where legal measures were taken and their recipients”

Figure 2 “Trend in amount of surcharge, etc.”

2. Main cases in FY2007

(1) Strict enforcement on bid-riggings and price-fixing cartels
【Bid-riggings】

  • Bid-riggings over civil engineering and construction projects ordered by the Defense Facilities Administration Agency (Cease and desist orders and surcharge payment orders were issued on June 20, 2007)
  • Bid-riggings over subway construction project ordered by the City of Nagoya(Cease and desist orders and surcharge payment orders were issued on November 12, 2007.)
  • Bid-riggings over geological survey business and location survey planning business concerning main forest road projects ordered by the Japan Green Resources Agency (A criminal accusation was filed on May 24, 2007, an additional accusation was filed on June 13, 2007 and cease and desist orders and surcharge payment orders were issued on December 25, 2007.)
  • Bid-riggings over natural gas eco-station construction projects ordered by the gas companies, petroleum products retailers etc.(Cease and desist orders and surcharge payment orders were issued on May 11, 2007)
  • Bid-riggings over high pressure gas pipe related works ordered by Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd., and medium pressure gas pipe related works ordered by Osaka Gas Co., Ltd.(Surcharge payment orders were issued on December 3, 2007)

【International cartels】

・International cartels over Marine Hose ordered by Marine Hose consumers located in Japan (Cease and desist orders and surcharge payment orders were issued on February 20,2008)

【Price-fixing cartels】

  • Price-fixing cartels over calcium silicate board for carpentry work (Cease and desist orders and surcharge payment orders were issued on May 24, 2007)
  • Price- fixing cartels over gas polyethylene pipe and ferrule (Cease and desist orders and surcharge payment orders were issued on June 29, 2007)

(2) Strict and prompt enforcement on violations causing unfair disadvantage to SMEs.

  • Unjust low price sales by petroleum products retailers (Cease and desist orders were issued on November 27, 2007)
  • Low-Price Bids for Public Construction Projects(Warnings were issued on June 26, 2007)

(3) Strict enforcement on exclusionary conducts, etc.

  • Unjustly restricting the activities of the constituent entrepreneurs by Pharmacists Association (A cease and desist order was issued on June 18, 2007)
  • Concerted refusal to trade by the taxi companies (A cease and desist order was issued on June 25, 2007)

3. Enforcement of the amended AMA

(1) Surcharge

1 Increase in surcharge rates, etc.

In the FY2007, surcharge payment orders were issued in 18 cases, and increased surcharge rate was applied in 15 cases among them.

Besides,there were 18 entrepreneurs in 6 cases who were applied increased surcharge rate for their repeated violations and there were 12 entrepreneurs in 3 cases who were applied reduced surcharge rate for their early cease of unlawful conduct.

2 Leniency program

In FY 2007, 74 leniency applications were received (179 applications were received from January 2006). Moreover, in FY2007, the JFTC published the names of a total of 37 entrepreneurs that received lenient treatments in 16 cases.

(2) Criminal investigation

In FY 2007, the JFTC, as a result of criminal investigation, filed 1 criminal accusation with the Prosecutor General. (The bid-rigging case over geological survey business and location survey planning business concerning main forest road projects ordered by the Japan Green Resources Agency)

(3) Cease and desist order and prior procedure

At a request of entrepreneurs, the JFTC explained a total of 145 entrepreneurs about the facts the JFTC had found, or the evidence necessary to calculate surcharge or to find violation on which a surcharge payment order is based.

4. Hearings and hearing decisions

  • In FY2007, the JFTC rendered 33 decisions after completing hearing proceedings, while the number of cases in which hearing proceedings were newly commenced was 19.
  • The number of cases pending before the hearing examiners in FY2007 was 105, and 85 among them were the cases of complaints against surcharge payment orders.

Figure 3 “Trend in Number of Pending Hearing Cases”

*Every announcement is tentative translation. Please refer to the original text written in Japanese.



Japan Fair Trade Commission:

100-8987 1-1-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo,Japan
Tel: +81-3-3581-1998
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