Tokyo, May 27 (Jiji Press)–The Diet, Japan’s parliament, enacted a law on Wednesday to regulate so-called digital platform operators such as U.S. technology giants Google LLC, Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., as well as Japan’s Rakuten Inc. and Yahoo Japan Corp.
The new law will oblige specified digital platform operators to disclose contract terms with their small business partners and give advance notice of changes to the terms.
The law was approved by the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, on the day and will be put into effect in spring 2021 at the earliest.
The law is designed to urge major technology firms to correct opaque business customs and stop unfair treatment of small business partners.
A survey by the Japan Fair Trade Commission has revealed that there are small businesses, including shops in online marketplaces, who have been forced to accept unilateral rule changes including fee hikes by marketplace or other platform operators.
There are concerns that platform operators’ influence could increase further, reflecting a surge in e-commerce demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specified platform operators will be required to submit annual reports on their state of compliance with the law to Japan’s industry minister. The government will make public any inappropriate cases under the law, while asking the JFTC to look into cases in which law violations are suspected.