International

Japan Passes Bill To Increase Big Tech Oversight

Japan Passes Bill To Increase Big Tech Oversight

In a move to prevent technology giants from having an unfair advantage, Japan is planning to increase regulations and demand transparency, Reuters reported on Tuesday (Dec. 17).

Japanese officials passed a bill that calls on eCommerce sites and app stores – including Amazon, Apple and Google – to file governmental reports about their operations.

“We want to put the new law into effect in [a] way that would make business transactions become transparent without imposing excessive burdens or hampering innovation,” Japan’s Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters.

“The new law constitutes a framework for ‘platformers’ to make autonomous efforts to maintain transparency and fairness,” he added.

Japan’s decision aligns with the international direction of increased oversight of technology platforms.

The Headquarters for Digital Market Competition, chaired by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, will finalize the bill’s particulars and move it forward to the Diet, Japan’s bicameral legislature, in the next session.

“As a full-blown debate [on IT giants] has been held worldwide, we have demonstrated how rules should be formulated regarding the digital market,” Suga said, according to The Japan Times.

The rules would require Big Tech firms to advise vendors of any changes to contracts and offer contact information in the event of complaints.

Google, Apple, Facebook Inc. and Amazon – known collectively as GAFA – will be affected by the proposed rules, as will Japanese tech firms Rakuten and Yahoo Japan, a unit of Z Holdings Corp.

Adam Cohen, Google’s global head of economics and competition, had concerns about the potential mandate for submitting reports regarding GAFA businesses, a government official told JT. Amazon also questioned the reporting requirement. Facebook expressed concern that some rules were stricter than those in the European Union.

In September, Japan’s Fair Trade Commission announced that draft guidelines were in place that would promote tighter regulation of larger tech firms. The guidelines, which would address concerns over customer data, focus on how companies obtain and use customer data through the means of what is being termed their “superior bargaining position.”

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