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Statement by the Secretary General at a regular press conference (November 29, 2023)

Statement by the Secretary General at a regular press conference (November 29, 2023)

November 29, 2023
Japan Fair Trade Commission

(Summary of the 225th Antimonopoly Meeting)

     Today, I would like to talk about the summary of the 225th Antimonopoly Meeting held on October 24 this year.

     In order to effectively and appropriately promote competition policy in response to changes in our country's economy, the Antimonopoly Meeting has been held since November 1968 by JFTC with the aim of hearing the opinions of all the people and deepening their understanding of the implementation of the Antimonopoly Act.
     This time, the General Secretariat explained three themes, and then introduced several recent updates at the beginning. We received opinions from the Meeting members on each theme or update, and the main opinions are as follows.
     Among the updates introduced at the beginning, as to "Opening an Investigation and Seeking Information and Comments from Third Parties Concerning the Suspected Violation of the Antimonopoly Act by Google LLC, etc.," we received an opinion that "it is difficult to clarify the actual situation of businesses in the digital sector, so I hope that JFTC will conduct a thorough investigation to check for any harms of oligopoly , through the active recruitment of persons with knowledge of such businesses and the use of investigative power," and in response, we explained that we recognize that dealing with the digital field is a very important issue and we would like to take appropriate measures while considering hiring appropriate persons and utilizing investigative power. In addition, regarding "Compilation of the 'Guidelines Concerning the Activities of Enterprises, etc. Toward the Realization of a Green Society Under the Antimonopoly Act'," we received an opinion that "we would like the guidelines to be more specific about policies and examples about cooperation between companies, such as joint disposal of equipment," and in response, we explained that we would like to review the guidelines with the aim of further clarifying our views, based on the opinions of the business communities and the knowledge obtained through individual consultations.
     The first theme was "EBPM initiatives of JFTC," in which we received an opinion that "I felt that the role of the business associations of small and medium-sized enterprises is important and the involvement of top management is very valuable to prevent the recurrence of antitrust violations," and in response, we explained that we would like to make efforts to publicize and disseminate information to small and medium-sized business owners and employees, in cooperation with business associations, etc.
     The second theme was "Market Study Report on News Content Distribution," in which we received an opinion that "with the advances in digitalization, ensuring fairness and transparency in news search displays, etc. is extremely important not only from the perspective of business-to-business transactions, but also for the rational choices of consumers and the development of a democratic society more broadly. From this point of view, the indications of this report are very valuable. In this regard, some foreign countries are making progress in formulating rules for digital markets, so please continue to consider them with reference to the efforts of other countries," and in response, we explained that we believe it is necessary to continue to closely monitor the situation in other countries and work in coordination with other countries.
     The third theme was "The status of notifications regarding business combinations and the results of reviews of major business combinations in fiscal year 2022," in which we received a question "why countries and regions make different decisions about Microsoft and Activision Blizzard cases" and in response, we explained that, in general terms, market positions of the merging companies and the trends of consumers in each country and region are reflected in the decision of each authority, and in this case, our view was that the influence of the merging companies on consumers was smaller in Japan than in other countries, which is one of the reasons behind this judgment.
     JFTC will continue to promote competition policy effectively and appropriately based on the opinions above.

(Tentative translation)