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Statement by the Secretary General at a regular press conference on Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Statement by the Secretary General at a regular press conference on Wednesday, October 11, 2023

October 11, 2023
Japan Fair Trade Commission

 (Amendment of the Green Guidelines)

 Today, I would like to talk about our efforts to realize a green society.
  With the aim of supporting initiatives by enterprises and trade associations to realize carbon neutrality, we released the "Guidelines Concerning the Activities of Enterprises, etc. Toward the Realization of a Green Society Under the Antimonopoly Act," the so-called Green Guidelines, in March this year.
 About half a year have passed since the publication of the Guidelines. In the meantime, we have made our approaches known and explained to enterprises and trade associations, and have responded to consultations from businesses on their actual initiatives.
    In fact, we have already dealt with consultations on joint initiatives from enterprises and trade associations in various sectors. We are actively and flexibly responding to initiatives by enterprises and trade associations aimed for realizing a green society.
    In June this year, the Cabinet approved this year's " Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform" and the "Grand Design and Action Plan for a New Form of Capitalism 2023 Revised Version." It was clearly stated in the policies of the entire government that the guidelines would be further clarified.
    With regard to this point, the Guidelines themselves have stated that we will continue reviewing the Guidelines. We would like to further clarify how we respond to initiatives, such as joint disposals and joint procurements aimed for realizing a green society, based on the actual conditions of markets while dealing with actual consultation and dialogue with businesses.
    Although we have not yet specified the timing and content of the revision of the Guidelines at this time, we would like to further support initiatives by businesses toward the realization of a green society by swift responses such as amending the guidelines as early as next spring. We have never taken such speedy approaches in the past revisions of other guidelines.

(Implementation of the "Intensive Information Gathering Period" for strengthening advocacy function of the JFTC in the digital sectors)
 In order to address competition issues in the digital sector, we have been pursuing a fair competitive environment by conducting fact-finding surveys, recommending development of new rules, and identifying problems of trade practices by digital platform operators.
 "Grand Design and Action Plan for a New Form of Capitalism 2023 Revised Version", which was approved by the Cabinet in June this year, stipulates that the JFTC "will conduct new fact-finding surveys and exercise its advocacy functions" in the digital sectors. However, in order to continue conducting fact-finding surveys effectively, we believe it is important to gather opinions from businesses and consumers concerned. In the "Toward the Active Promotion of Competition Policies in Response to Socioeconomic Changes such as Digitalization - Collaboration and Strengthening of Advocacy and Enforcement -" published by the JFTC in June last year, we stated that we will actively collect information by interviews with parties concerned when selecting sectors for us to conduct studies. We also stated that we will follow up on the status of sectors where we have conducted studies in the past as necessary to enhance the effectiveness of the advocacy function.
 With regard to the "Market Study Report on News Content Distribution", which was published at the end of last month, we had conducted hearings with enterprises, etc. concerned before conducting our study for compiling the report. The hearings revealed that substantial improvements might not have been made to the issues pointed out in our past study. It triggered another study with the aim of making more effective recommendations for resolving issues.
 Today, we launch the "Intensive Information Gathering Period" in order to widely gather information from enterprises and consumers on market conditions and transactions with digital platform operators in the digital sectors including both sectors where we have and have not conducted fact-finding surveys so far. We believe those enterprises and consumers are the ones who know the actual conditions the most. If you find any problems such as "Sudden change in the terms of conditions caused a drastic deterioration of trading terms" or "It is difficult to switch to another company's service," please provide information to the Japan Fair Trade Commission.
 The Intensive Period is from October 11 to November 10, 2023.
 In the future, following the information obtained, we will take measures more effectively for securing a competitive environment in the digital sectors which include conducting new studies.

(Group Training Course for Developing Countries)
 Today, I will talk about "Group Training Course for Developing Countries on the Antimonopoly Act and Competition Policy."
 We have been making efforts in technical assistance for Competition Law and Policy. As one of its efforts, we conduct group training course for developing countries in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The purpose of the course is to provide staffs of competition authorities in developing countries with opportunities to acquire knowledge about Antimonopoly Act and our implementation of the Act, and to contribute to strengthening the implementation of the competition law in those countries.
    This training has been held almost every year since FY 1994, and has been held 28 times in total for 318 staffs in 67 countries. Our assistance has been mainly provided in East Asia, which is geographically close, but by utilizing the framework of this training, it is possible to provide assistances to a wide range of countries such as Africa and Eastern Europe.
    Basically, the contents of the trainings are decided based on the needs of the participating countries. So, in addition to the basic contents of competition law such as cartels and merger reviews, we also include cutting-edge recent topics such as digital economy and sustainability. Participants from developing countries can efficiently and effectively learn a wide range of knowledge and experiences about Antimonopoly Act from our staffs and academic experts.
 The JFTC will continue to provide our support so that competition policy in those countries can develop sustainably and independently.

(Tentative translation)