Vastavam web: Japan will join forces with the United States and Europe to take on any market abuses by the four Big Tech companies, the new head of its antitrust watchdog said on Monday, a sign Tokyo will join global efforts to regulate digital platform operators. Kazuyuki Furuya, chairman of Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC), also said Tokyo could open a probe into any merger or business tie-up involving fitness tracker maker Fitbit FIT.N if the size of such deals are big enough.
“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 start-up (like Fitbit),” he told Reuters. “We’re closely watching developments including in Europe.” Japan is laying the groundwork to regulate platform operators. Among them are big tech giants dubbed “GAFA” – Google, Apple, Amazon AMZN.O and Facebook FB.O – that face various antitrust probes in western nations.
“We’ll work closely with our U.S. and European counterparts, and respond if to any moves that hamper competition,” he said. “This is an area I will push through aggressively,” he said, adding the FTC was ready to open probes if digital platformers abuse their dominant market positions against consumers. Any such move would help Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s push to slash Japan’s mobile phone charges, which he has repeatedly criticised as too high. Furuya countered the view that helping the government meet its policy priorities could undermine the FTC’s position as a body mandated to act independently from political meddling.