The Law Society of England & Wales provided a submission to the Japan Fair Trade Commission’s (JFTC) proposed rules and guidelines to implement the Anti-Monopoly Act of Japan (AMA).

The bill to amend the Act on Prohibition of Private Monopolisation and Maintenance of Fair Trade was passed in June 2019. The Bill introduces a leniency programme to reduce rates for corporations that cooperate in these investigations.

The Law Society of England & Wales provided comments regarding the JFTC draft Rules on Investigations by the Fair Trade Commission and Treatment of Confidential Communication Between an Enterprise and an Attorney. These amendments together create a process for confidential communications between the enterprise and the attorney, legal concept similar to ‘attorney-client privilege’ or ‘legal advice privilege’ (LAP) in England and Wales.

The Law Society believes that the measures proposed by the JFTC in respect of investigations into restraint of trade investigations under the leniency programme are a much-anticipated development. The proposals, if implemented, would provide a valuable opportunity to observe the benefits to society that flow from legal professional privilege, strengthening the right to communicate fully and frankly with a lawyer and further enhancing Japan’s high regard for the rule of law.

The Law Society of England & Wales strongly believes that these benefits will continue to accrue as the scope of legal professional privilege is increased and would support further measures to do so.

Further information on the consultation is available at: https://www.jftc.go.jp/en/pressreleases/yearly-2020/April/200402.html