The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) has announced its position on proposed revisions to Japan’s Antimonopoly Act in a memorandum, “Basic View Concerning Amendments to the Current Antimonopoly Act of Japan.” Among the provisions considered for revision is the statute of limitations on JFTC-ordered surcharge payments. The JFTC was granted authority to order surcharge payments for violations of the Antimonopoly Act (a “Surcharge Payment Order”) by a 2005 amendment to the Act. Under Article 7-2, Paragraph 21 of the Act, the statute of limitations for a Surcharge Payment Order is three years from the date on which the violations ceased. According to the memorandum, this statue of limitations for the Surcharge Payment Order should be extended from three years to five years, thereby strengthening the JFTC’s enforcement mechanisms.

Absent from the JFTC’s announcement is mention of revisions to the system for appeals of JFTC decisions. Under the Antimonopoly Act, appeals of JFTC decisions are conducted by JFTC judges. Despite strong criticism from the business community, the JFTC chose not to address such appeals in its latest announcement.

At a regular interview on October 17, 2007 the Secretary-General of the JFTC stated that the agency will continue to consider various viewpoints, conduct further examinations and work toward drafting proposed legislation to amend the Antimonopoly Act to submit during the Diet’s next ordinary session.