Key Points of the Act on Improving Transparency and Fairness of Digital Platforms (establishment: May 27, 2020; promulgation: June 3, 2020; enforcement: February 1, 2021)
- The Act stipulates that the government should secure the minimally-necessary commitments from, and enforce regulations on, digital platform providers, on the basis that such providers must take voluntary and proactive efforts toward improving the transparency and fairness of their digital platforms (this adopts a “co-regulation” approach that stipulates the general framework under laws and leaves details to businesses’ voluntary efforts).
Targets subject to the regulations
- The Act designates digital platform providers whose transparency and fairness must be significantly improved in particular compared to other digital platforms as “specified digital platform providers” and it makes such providers subject to specific regulations.
Roles that specified digital platform providers should play
The Act requires specified platform providers to disclose terms and conditions of trading and other information, develop procedures and systems in a voluntary manner and submit a report every fiscal year on the overview of measures and businesses that they have conducted, to which self-assessment results are attached.
Note: The Act requires such providers to send a prior notification of changes in terms and conditions, etc. to users and to voluntarily develop systems for settling complaints and disputes.
Roles that administrative authorities should play
- The Act requires administrative authorities (METI Minister) to review the current situation of platform operation in accordance with the submitted yearly report and publicize the assessment results together with the overview of the report. In such reviews, administrative authorities are expected to hold interviews with academic experts, customers and consumers of the target digital platform provider and other stakeholders in order to hear their opinions and encourage stakeholders to share challenges and facilitate mutual understanding.
- The Act authorizes the METI Minister to request that the Japan Fair Trade Commission take appropriate measures under the Antimonopoly Act if it is found that a digital platform provider may be suspected of being involved in any cases which are violations of the Antimonopoly Act.
Note: The regulations under the Act should be applied to all digital platform providers regardless of domestic or overseas origin of the businesses. METI may develop procedures for service by publication, while referring to case examples in which the Antimonopoly Act has been applied to overseas businesses.
Note: To access a PDF version of this document, visit the following website.
Division in Charge
Digital Market Policy Office, Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau