Cabinet Decision on the Bill for the Act on Improvement of Transparency and Fairness in Trading on Specified Digital Platforms
February 18, 2020
A Cabinet Decision was made on the Bill for the Act on Improvement of Transparency and Fairness in Trading on Specified Digital Platforms, which will be submitted to the ongoing ordinary session of the Diet.
1. Purpose of the bill
In recent years, digital platforms have dramatically improved users’ access to markets and have become ever more important. Meanwhile, concerns are emerging, such as: low transparency in trading as seen in changes in terms and conditions and no provision of reasons for refusal to deal; and insufficient procedures and systems for addressing rational requests of platform users providing goods and services.
In light of this situation, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will take necessary measures to improve transparency and fairness in trading on digital platforms, such as those for requiring digital platform providers to: disclose terms and conditions of trading and other information, secure fairness in operating digital platforms, submit a report on the current situation of business operation and conduct self-assessment of the report as well as those for requiring the government to publicize the results of its assessment of the report and to take other actions.
In addition, the Act is to require the government, when implementing these measures, to encourage digital platform providers and platform users providing goods and services to establish mutual understanding in terms of trading relationships on the basis of such digital platform providers making voluntary and proactive efforts with minimal involvement by the government.
2. Outline of the bill
The major measures to be taken under the bill are as follows:
(1) Measures targeting specified digital platform providers
The Act is to designate digital platform businesses whose transparency and fairness in trading should be improved as “specified digital platform providers” under cabinet order and, thereby, such specified providers, whether they are domestic or overseas businesses, are to be subject to the following rules.
*Note: The categories and sizes of businesses are to be stipulated under cabinet order.
- Requiring specified digital platform providers to disclose their information, e.g., terms and conditions of trading
The Act is to require specified digital platform providers to disclose terms and conditions and give prior notices of any change thereof to the platform users.
- Requesting such providers to develop procedures and systems in a voluntary manner
The Act is to request such providers to develop procedures and systems in accordance with the guidelines specified by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.
- Requiring such providers to submit a report on the results of self-assessment and requiring the METI Minister to assess the report
The Act is to require such providers to submit a report, every fiscal year, on their current situations of items [i] and [ii] above with the results of self-assessment on such situations to the METI Minister, and then the Minister to assess the situations of business operation based on the report and publicize the assessment results.
(2) Collaborating with the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC)
The Act is to require METI to establish a system in which METI should request the JFTC to exercise certain measures under the Antimonopoly Act if METI finds any cases which are suspected of violating the Antimonopoly Act.
Division in Charge
Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau