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Newsletter Reform of German Competition Law Part 2 (May 2021)

Part 2: “Updating” the Competition Act

The recent amendment of the Competition Act is entitled “Act for Digitizing the Competition Act”. The German legislator is the first worldwide to address many of the challenges of digital ecosystems that have been discussed at global level over the past few years.

Public debate in Germany has focused on a new provision aimed at regulating “GAFA” (short for: Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon), the giants of the data economy (see below section 3). Lesser known but of great practical importance are the new rules broadening access to data (see below section 1) and regulating the behavior of intermediaries on multi-sided markets (see below section 2), both of which apply to digital and traditional industries alike and even to some extent address non-dominant players.

1. Access to data

The German government expects that the ability to use data across the entire value chain will be crucial for future economic development. For this reason, both the essential facilities doctrine (section 19(2) no. 4 of the Competition Act) and the concept of relative market power (new section 20(1a) of the Competition Act) were amended to allow competitors and service providers on upstream or downstream markets to access data they require for developing own offers under certain conditions.
The new “access to data” rules may apply to:

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Newsletter Reform of German Competition Law (April 2021)

Part 1: Unburdening small and medium-sized companies

The German Act Against Restraints of Competition (“Competition Act”) has been amended to address challenges of the digital economy, to make merger control more efficient for small and medium-sized companies, and to implement EU legislation. This reform of January 2021 concerns several aspects that are of relevance to foreign investors. Those aimed at unburdening small and medium-sized companies will be outlined in this newsletter. A subsequent newsletter will give an overview of the tightened antitrust rules for “Big Data” companies.

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Newsletter Re-Employment after Retirement Age (March 2021)

Japan is one of the world’s most rapidly ageing societies. Along with the traditionally high life expectancy, the country’s fertility rate is at a continuously low level. According to the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, as of September 2020, nearly 30% of Japanese are already 65 years or older. The effects of this demographic change are noticeable. Along with the increasing competition for qualified junior employees, the ageing workforce poses new challenges for employers.

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Newsletter Setting-up Business in Japan (February 2021)

Japan continues to attract the interest of foreign investors, wishing to establish or expand their own business presence in this market. Japanese corporate law provides for a broad variety of legal types of investment, the most prevalent of which are described in this newsletter. These include the representative office (I.), the branch (II.), the joint stock corporation (III.) and the limited liability company (IV.). Whereas the stock corporation traditionally enjoys the highest reputation with banks and business partners and for this reason is most frequently chosen for the establishment of a new legal entity, also the limited liability company has been gaining popularity due to its flexible structure and ease to administer.

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Newsletter Major Trends in Offshore Wind Power Generation in Japan (Oct 2020)

Being designated by the Japanese government as a main power source, new policies to proactively promote renewable energy have been adopted in Japan. Among several renewable energy sources, offshore wind power generation has attracted the most attention because, while the lands suitable for land wind power are limited, Japanese waters offer relatively favorable offshore sites for offshore wind power generation, and thus it is necessary for Japan to introduce wind power generation using such offshore sites (cf. the 5th Basic Energy Plan approved by the Cabinet on July 3, 2018).

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Newsletter Amendments to Renewable Energy Related Laws and Regulations (September 2020)

The Act to Amend the Electricity Business Act, Etc. for Establishing a Resilient and Sustainable Electricity Supply System (the “Energy Resilience Act”) was enacted effective as of June 5, 2020 upon the passage of the bill therefor by the House of Councilors of the Japanese Diet. The Energy Resilience Act provides for various amendments to energy-related laws, such as the Act on Special Measures Concerning Procurement of Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources by Electricity Utilities (the “Renewable Energy Special Measures Act”) and the Electricity Business Act, and is planned to be enforced starting from April 1, 2022.

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Newsflash BOJ Filing and FDI Category Expansion (August 2020)

On 7 June 2020 a significant amendment concerning filing obligations of foreign investors in Japan under the Japanese Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act (FEFTA) came into effect which widely expanded the scope of mandatory prior-notification obligations to the competent governmental authorities (i.e. the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Ministry or Agency supervising the area of the business concerned) through the Bank of Japan (BOJ).

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Newsflash Entry Restrictions to Japan for Foreigners and Exemptions (June 2020)

According to Article 5 paragraph 1 item 14 of the Japanese Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, foreign nationals are generally refused entry to Japan in case they fall under a reason designated by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) as risk for the interests or public safety of Japan. Based on this provision, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MoJ has published.

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Newsflash Balancing Home Office with Office Work (June 2020)

Although the state of emergency has been lifted for the entire territory of Japan on 25 May 2020, the health risks related to COVID-19 persist, and many companies have chosen to continue teleworking (or working from home, “home office”) in one way or another. In this Newsflash we discuss some legal questions resulting from these changes at the workplace and the consequences for employer and employees.

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