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.
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.