The recent news about antitrust suits in the US against Big Tech companies has dominated headlines. However, the US isn’t the only country looking at how big tech could negatively affect their small to medium businesses. Japan recently released the news that their government will be taking an active part in dealing with the future of acquisitions from Big Tech on Japanese soil. The government will soon require companies that intend to perform mergers or purchases above 40 billion yen ($374 million) to seek approval from the government.
Protecting the Small Business
The governmental control provides a balance so that large companies like Amazon or Google can’t simply throw their weight around to acquire smaller companies that may compete against them. The committee responsible for planning and executing the legislation intends to create a list of four steps to be released by the end of the year. The US is the most public of governmental regulations regarding Big Tech, but the EU already has a framework in place to deal with this sort of scenario. Japan has been slow to follow but seems to be aware of the threat that Big Tech presents to its technology industry.
Data Protection is the Driving Factor
The reason Japan sees this as a necessity is because of the dependence on data by smaller companies to be able to function. The Fair Trade Commission of Japan joined with ministers to lay out the proposed provisions of the law. Tech companies would be required to notify the Japan FTC for deals that are likely to have an impact on the domestic market. The committee would be able to launch their own reviews without being called on by companies if they suspect something may be amiss. The aim would be to stop large companies from monopolizing data by the acquisition of smaller companies.
Additionally, the committee was interested in improving current antitrust provisions in Japan. The updated legislation would address things like individual data rights, as well as protect citizens from companies gathering user data to use against their express wishes.