Japan has pledged to join forces with Europe and the United States to tackle market abuse by the four most prominent tech companies globally. The new head of Japan’s antitrust watchdog said this on Monday, showing a growing global force that will regulate digital platforms.
Japan Fair Trade Commission’s chairman, Kazuyuki Furuya, also said That Tokyo could open a probe into any mergers or business tie-ups, if the deals are big enough. The acquisition of Fitbit by Alphabet (Google) is one the deals Japan is looking into to launch an anti-monopoly investigation. But Japan is closely watching European developments on this matter.
The antitrust campaign
EU Antitrust regulators launched an investigation this past August into a $2.1 billion deal by Alphabet to acquire FitBit, to compete against Apple and Samsung in the wearable technology market.
Currently, Japan is laying its foundation for a framework that will be used to regulate platform operators. Among them, we have the big four, nicknamed GAFA (Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook). They are all facing antitrust probes in the west.
Furuya says that Japan will work closely with its counterparts to make sure that they respond to any moves designed to quash competition.
Japan making moves
Furuya, who started his work on the post in September, said that the FTC would research Japan’s mobile phone market to see if there was any room for improvement and hopefully ignite a competitive spirit.
A move like this one will help Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is pushing to cut mobile phone charges in Japan, after criticism about how high they are.
Furuya is not keen to be seen as serving the government’s wishes or policy priorities, as that would undermine the FTC’s mandate that it acts independently from political motives.