Japanese Diet Considers Bill to Amend Japan's Anti-Monopoly Act

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On February 27, 2009, a Bill[1] to extend and amend Japan’s Anti-Monopoly Act (the “AMA”) was submitted to the Japanese Diet. The proposed amendments would have broad impacts on competition law in Japan and potentially would have significant effects on businesses operating in Japan. In particular, the Bill would amend the AMA to:

*Permit the Japan Fair Trade Commission (“JFTC”) to levy potentially significant administrative fines for certain types of single-firm vertical practices

*Impose significantly heavier penalties on cartels, including increased fines and longer terms of imprisonment

*Revise substantially the form and process of Japan’s pre merger notification requirements

*Reform rules concerning the JFTC’s handling of sensitive business information, including the rules regarding exchange of information with foreign competition enforcement agencies

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