Competition Law and Policy in Japan and the EU

Competition Law and Policy in Japan and the EU

Etsuko Kameoka

This exciting new book embarks on a comparative analysis of competition law and policy in Japan and the EU. It provides a clear and carefully researched exposition of the differences between the relevant rules, systems and underlying ideas of the two jurisdictions, together with the relevant historical backgrounds.

Chapter 9: Fining policy

Etsuko Kameoka

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, law - academic, asian law, competition and antitrust law, european law


Traditionally, as a form of administrative sanction, the imposition of a pecuniary sanction such as a fine was quite rare in Japan. Furthermore, policy mechanisms having the character of a leniency policy were almost unprecedented. The Japanese ësurchargeí system was introduced in 1977 for the first time to promote more effective enforcement. In 1991, under pressure from the US in the context of the SII talks, in order to enhance its deterrent effects the fixed rate for surcharges was increased from 1.5 per cent to 6 per cent. However, the maximum period for which surcharges could be imposed was limited to the three-year period leading up to the date of the JFTCís infringement decision. In 2005, the fining policy was radically amended and the nature of the fines started to shift from mere ëdisgorgementí of illegal profits to something more akin to a sanction. The fixed rate was further increased to 10 per cent and the range of conduct triggering the surcharge was extended. Moreover, the 2005 amendment added both aggravating circumstances, such as repeated illegal conduct, and mitigating circumstances, such as withdrawal from a cartel. However, the most important evolution was the introduction of a leniency policy, which entered into force in January 2006. Further reforms in 2009 increased the number of possible leniency applicants from three to five companies and introduced the possibility of submitting a single application for a group of companies.

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