April 12, 2023
Japan Fair Trade Commission
Today, I would like to give an overview of the 223th Antimonopoly Conference held on March 10, 2023.
In order to effectively and appropriately promote competition policy in response to changes in our country's economy, the Antimonopoly Conference has been held since November 1968 by the JFTC to broadly hear the views from all segments of the public and to deepen their understanding of the administration of the Antimonopoly Act.
At this Antimonopoly Conference, we received opinions from members on 4 themes. Here are some of the main opinions on each theme from the summary of proceedings published on April 11 in your hand.
On the first theme, "Fact-finding report on mobile operating systems, etc.," regarding the first bullet point, for example, it was pointed out that efforts to integrate competition and consumer policies, such as making giant platforms accountable for explaining the proper handling of personal information to consumers, etc., would also be important. In response, we explained that the JFTC has also presented guidelines on the unjust acquisition of consumer data by digital platform operators from the viewpoint of abuse of a superior bargaining position, and that we will continue to take the viewpoint that was pointed out as an important consideration, in responding to these issues. In addition, regarding the first and second bullet points on the top of page 2, there was an opinion that the appropriateness of sideloading needs to be judged based on the balance between security and the development of a competitive environment. In response, we explained that specific measures will be considered while balancing security in securing alternative distribution channels.
Regarding the second theme, "Urgent Fact-Finding Report on Cheap Selling of Mobile Phones," regarding the second bullet point, we received an opinion that the information dissemination and public relations activities should be strengthened in collaboration with the relevant ministries and agencies such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Consumer Affairs Agency regarding the problems that the representation of the conditions for cheap selling of mobile phones is too small and difficult to understand, causing consumer misidentification, and that consumers are not fully informed that it is possible to sign a communication contract with another MNO or MVNO after purchasing a mobile phone from an MNO. We explained that we will continue to work with the relevant ministries and agencies to respond to these problems.
On the third theme, "Follow-up Survey Report on Services Utilizing Fintech," regarding the second bullet point, some of the matters pointed out by the JFTC during the previous survey were not necessarily violations of the Antimonopoly Act, and we received a question about the reasons why the financial industry responded to such points. In response, we explained that although the financial industry is a traditional industry, there seems to be growing momentum to work with businesses that provide new services.
On the fourth theme, "Efforts to realize an appropriate price pass-through," regarding the first bullet point, it was pointed out that the gap is very problematic where the business operators on the ordering side consider that they have generally accepted price pass-through, while 90% of the business operators on the receiving side recognize that price pass-through of increased costs has not fully progressed. In response, we explained that we also recognize that the gap between the perceptions of the ordering side and the receiving side is a major problem, and that we will work to ensure that the ordering side is fully aware of this issue in order to bridge the gap.
The JFTC will continue to promote its competition policy in an effective and appropriate manner, taking into account the opinions expressed in this meeting.