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Statement by the Secretary General at a regular press conference on Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Statement by the Secretary General at a regular press conference on Wednesday, September 6, 2023

September 6, 2023
Japan Fair Trade Commission

(Holding of the Seoul International Competition Forum and the Japan-Korea Bilateral Meeting)
 Today, I will talk about the Seoul International Competition Forum and the Japan-Korea Bilateral Meeting.
On September 5, the Seoul International Competition Forum was held in Seoul, Korea under the auspices of the Fair Trade Commission of Korea. Chair Furuya, Director-General of the Economic Affairs Bureau Iwanari, Deputy Secretary-General for International Affairs Tanaka participated. Chair Furuya presented at a session on the theme of " How to effectively review M&A deals in the modern economy " and talked how our Merger Review is responding to the digitalization that characterizes the current economy, including the revision of the Business Combination Guidelines (Merger Review Guidelines) and the release of the statement in June last year.
 On the same day, Chair Furuya held the Japan-Korea Bilateral Meeting with Chairman Han Ki-jong (KFTC).While the JFTC used to have regular bilateral meeting to exchange views with the KFTC in the past, we haven't been able to do so in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We made it happen by taking the opportunity of Chair Furuya's visit to Korea for the Seoul International Competition Forum.
 At the meeting, two authorities had lively discussions on recent initiatives on both sides, and Chair Furuya introduced JFTC’s efforts in the digital field, such as enforcement and advocacy activities, and activities to realize a green society. At the meeting, it was confirmed to continue to exchange views.
 The JFTC would like to deepen its relationship with the KFTC and closely cooperate with it. In the future, we will continue to hold dialogues at both the top leader level and at the official level by taking advantage of various opportunities.

(Fiscal 2024 Estimate Request)

 On August 31, we made a budget request for fiscal 2024 and made it public. Japan Fair Trade Commission's budget request for fiscal 2024 was 12,499,000,000 yen, an increase of 1009 million yen or 8.8% from the previous year's initial budget.
 The following is the main contents of the budget request.
 As for the first item, "Strict and effective implementation of the Antimonopoly Act," we requested 546 million yen for expenses necessary for effective measures in the digital field, etc., for handling cases of violations such as cartels and bid rigging, and for responding appropriately to cases of global M&A review.
 As for the second item, "Strengthening the control of acts that unfairly disadvantage small and medium-sized enterprises," we requested 931 million yen for expenses necessary for the abuse of a superior bargaining position in relation to refusal to pass on higher labor costs, raw material costs, and energy costs, strict measures to deal with and prevent violations of the Subcontract Act, and efforts to optimize transactions for freelancers, etc. In addition, part of the expenses associated with the enforcement of the Act on ensuring fair transactions involving freelance contractors (hereinafter referred as “New Freelance Act”) is considered in the budgeting process.
 As for the third item, "Improving the competitive environment," we requested 222 million yen for expenses necessary for strengthening so-called advocacy, which is the function of advocating for the improvement of trade practices and conducting field surveys in various fields, including the digital market and for achieving carbon neutral.
 Next, regarding the organization and the number of officials, measures to transfer and the strengthening of the enforcement system of the New Freelance Act are set forth in the "Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform " and the "Action Plan for a New Form of Capitalism," etc., and we made requests based on these items.
First, regarding the organization, for the strengthening of the system in accordance with the enforcement of the New Freelance Act, etc., the followings are requested.
    ① Establishment of Deputy Secretary General for fair transaction
    ② Establishment of Fair Freelance Transaction Office, Trade Practices Division, Trade Practices Department,  Economic Affairs Bureau
   In addition, in order to strengthen the ability to disseminate competition policy and further strengthen the human resource base,
    ③ Establishment of the Public Relations and Public Listening Office of the General Affairs Division of the Secretariat
    ④ Establishment of the Senior Planning Officer for Human Resources Strategy of the Personnel Division of the Secretariat
are requested.
    Also, regarding the number of officials, we are making requests for the necessary system development, such as requesting an increase of 20 officials to strengthen the enforcement system in accordance with the enforcement of the New Freelance Act.
    These are the contents of our estimated requests for fiscal 2024.
(Tentative translation)