On June 16, 2017, the "Guidelines Concerning Distribution Systems and Business Practices under the Antimonopoly Act" ("Guidelines") were amended. The amendments are intended to make the Guidelines more comprehensible, versatile, and useful for business persons based on the changes in distribution systems and business practices in Japan that have occurred over the nearly 25 years since they were first drafted. The major points of the amendments are as follows: (i) general changes in structure of the Guidelines to classify vertical restraints as those between trading partners; (ii) clarification of the process of analyzing the legality of a specific vertical restraint; (iii) clarification of the legal criteria for vertical restraints concerning online transactions; and (iv) clarification of legal criteria by including citations to precedent cases decided by courts or the Japan Fair Trade Commission ("JFTC") or cases that the JFTC adjudicated upon consultation.
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