The JFTC has established a plan to substantially revise the current appeals system under the Antimonopoly Act. Under the current system, the JFTC reviews its own administrative measures taken against Antimonopoly Act violations; appeals of such reviews are taken to Japan’s courts. Under the proposed new system, the JFTC would abolish the current appeals process in cases of bid collusions and cartels, requiring companies dissatisfied with the JFTC’s decision to file suit directly with the courts. In addition, in merger investigations, the JFTC would decide on appropriate measures in advance, but after hearing the companies’ claims. Then, any company dissatisfied with the agency’s preliminary decision can file suit in the courts.
The JFTC will incorporate its plan to revise the current appeals system into the Antimonopoly Act Amendment Proposal being submitted to the current regular session of the Diet. Under the revised Amendment Proposal, the JFTC would completely abolish the current appeals system within 2 years. The current appeals system has faced strong opposition due to distrust about whether fair judgments can be rendered by prosecutors doubling as judges. Such opposition was strengthened by reactions within Japan’s business community to measures adopted in October 2007 that raised surcharges for certain violations of the Antimonopoly Act. The JFTC likely determined that revising the current appeals system would serve as a compromise to the business community and better the chances of the Diet ratifying the Amendment Proposal.