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Competition Policy

Bilateral relations with Japan

DG Competition’s cooperation partner in Japan is the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC). Cooperation between DG Competition and the JFTC is based on two documents:

  • Cooperation Agreement signed in 2003. The Agreement provides for:
    • the reciprocal notification of cases under investigation by either authority, where they may affect the important interests of the other party;
    • the possibility of coordination by the two authorities of their enforcement activities, as well as of rendering assistance to each other;
    • the possibility for one party to request the other to take enforcement action, and for one party to take into account the important interests of the other party in the course of its enforcement activities;
    • the exchange of information between the parties, while not affecting either party's confidentiality obligations with respect to such information; and
    • regular bilateral meetings to exchange information on current enforcement activities and priorities, on economic sectors of common interest, to discuss policy changes which either party is considering, and to discuss other matters of mutual interest relating to the application of competition laws.

The EU and Japan are negotiating since 2017 a review of the 2003 EU-Japan Agreement on cooperation on anticompetitive activities. This ‘second generation' agreement would further enhance cooperation, in particular by facilitating – under certain conditions - the exchange of confidential information obtained by their respective competition authorities during the course of an investigation.

  • EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement,  which entered into force in 2019.
    • The EPA includes a comprehensive chapter (Chapter 11) on competition policy as well as chapter on State subsidies (Chapter 12). While the EU-Japan bilateral Cooperation agreement contains the objectives and instruments of technical cooperation between both competition authorities, the EPA Chapter on competition focuses more on substantive issues, such as the duty to adopt/maintain legislation on competition, to set up an effective agency and to respect general principles of competition law (e.g. due process, non-discrimination).
    • The chapter on State subsidies contains a prohibition of certain types of subsidies (i.e. some of the most distortive forms of aid such as unlimited guarantees and subsidies to ailing companies without a restructuring plan), in so far as they affect international trade.  The section also contains transparency provisions according to which Parties have to report every two years the legal basis, form, amount or budget and, where possible, the name of the recipient of any specific subsidy granted or maintained. Moreover, parties are obliged to provide further information on subsidy schemes or individual subsidies on request. The rules on subsidies apply to goods and services with certain specific exceptions.  This section is subject to the dispute settlement mechanism.