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A Study Group for Ideal Approaches to Competition Policies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution to Hold Its Meetings

In recent years, Japan has seen the emergence of innovative technologies and services, including innovation in artificial intelligence and advanced computing, accompanied by a dramatic increase in processable data and big data.

To address this situation, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has established a Study Group for Ideal Approaches to Competition Policies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The study group will aim to examine inter-company competition and the relationship between accumulation and utilization of data, which is an important element in bringing the fourth industrial revolution to fruition.

1. Background

Aiming to address policy issues and concerns related to the rapidly-advancing digital economy, METI established a Cross-sectional System Study Group for the Fourth Industrial Revolution which held seven meetings from January to July 2016 to discuss three policy systems: competition policies, utilization and protection of data, and intellectual property.

This study group streamlined the current system and addressed issues based on: [i] interviews with online-related businesses, which were conducted jointly with the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC); [ii] overseas research visits to government authorities and other entities which influence business competition in Western countries; and [iii] presentations by experts. This study group also discussed future measures and other efforts to address the Fourth Industrial Revolution, produced a report on the discussions, and released the report on September 15, 2016. As an overview, the report pointed out that the accumulation of information is a source of competitiveness among the various platforms.

Meanwhile, other countries are starting discussions to examine competition policies for such accumulation of information, as seen in the Germany-France joint report on data and competition released by the competition authorities of the two countries.  Although there are various products and services that utilize data, METI has yet to confirm any competition policy considerations based on examples of utilization in other countries.

2. Study group’s initiatives

In light of the trends above, the Study Group for Ideal Approaches to Competition Policies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution will undertake necessary discussions to conduct the following initiatives:

  1. Collecting current cases of data accumulation and utilization from broad areas and categorizing them;
  2. Streamlining policies related to data accumulation and utilization by focusing on competition policy issues; and
  3. Presenting approaches to realizing continuous innovation through fair and free competition, while bearing in mind the results of the discussions in Western countries.

In addition, the study group will make follow-up efforts concerning the current trade situation in mobile, which was pointed out in the September 2016 report.

3. Member of the study group (in order of the Japanese syllabary)

  • Hiroshi Ohashi, Professor, Graduate School of Economics, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo, and Program Director and Faculty Fellow, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry
  • Noboru Kawahama, Professor, Graduate School of Law, Kyoto University
  • Kuninobu Takeda, Professor, Graduate School of Law and Politics, Osaka University
  • Hirofumi Tatsumoto, Professor, Graduate School of Business Sciences, University of Tsukuba
  • Shuya Hayashi, Professor, Graduate School of Law, Nagoya University
  • Hiroue Harada, President, Marunouchi Analytics
  • Mitsuyoshi Hiratsuka, Professor, Graduate School of Management of Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science
  • Ryoji Mori, Attorney-at-Law, Eichi Law Offices

4. Meeting schedule

The study group will hold its meeting approximately once a month and produce a report on their research and findings as a final effort.
(Its first meeting will be held on January 13 (Fri.), 2017.)

Release date

January 12, 2017

Division in Charge

Competition Enhancement Office, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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