Japan Ties Up With US, Europe To Legislate Big Tech

Japan is teaming up with the U.S. and Europe to develop tough new regulations to take on big tech, according to a Reuters report on Monday (Oct. 19).

Kazuyuki Furuya, new chairman of Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC), said Tokyo could launch an investigation on any big deals or collaborations with Fitbit fitness tracker maker.

“If the size of any merger or business-tie up is big, we can launch an anti-monopoly investigation into the buyer’s process of acquiring a startup (like Fitbit),” Furuya told Reuters. “We’re closely watching developments including in Europe.”

EU antitrust regulators in August started probing a $2.1 billion acquisition deal for Google to buy Fitbit.

Furuya added that Japan will align closely with the U.S. and Europe, “and respond to any moves that hamper competition. This is an area I will push through aggressively,” he said.

The big tech giants Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook — also known by the acronym “GAFA” — are facing numerous antitrust investigations from the west.

Global collaboration is important, Furuya said, since GAFA and other tech platforms have similar business practices worldwide.

Furuya also told Reuters that the FTC would analyze Japan’s mobile phone market to find ways that could increase competition, which could help cut Japan’s mobile phone charges.

In the September PYMNTS  big tech compliance tracker tracker, Facebook considered pulling out of the EU over regulations. Canada’s governing Liberal party renewed calls to legislate big tech platforms to pay media producers a cut of ad dollars.

Everyone is also watching a $650 million lawsuit filed by Illinois residents against social media giant Facebook.  A settlement lets residents with Facebook accounts claim payouts potentially ranging from $200 to $400.