Cartel conduct is criminalised by the Law Concerning Prohibition of Private Monopoly and Maintenance of Fair Trade (Law No. 54 of 1947). Further penalties for collusion in a public bid are provided for by the Criminal Code.

The offence

An agreement or understanding among competitors to eliminate or restrict competition among them, and that substantially restrains competition in a particular field of trade, is prohibited as an unreasonable restraint of trade. The Fair Trade Commission of Japan has publically stated that a criminal investigation is likely to be initiated where there is a considerable reason to suspect a malicious and material violation.

Unreasonable restraint of trade includes agreements that cover:

  • price fixing;
  • production limitation;
  • market and customer allocation; and
  • bid rigging.



Maximum fine of YEN5 million and 5 years’ imprisonment.


Maximum fine of YEN500 million.

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