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Cablegate: Ftc Commissioner Harbour Meetings with Goj

VZCZCXRO5603
RR RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #5232/01 3180909
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 140909Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9535
INFO RUEAWJA/JUSTICE DEPT WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0126
RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI 1036
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 5839
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 6182
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 4400
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 8067
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 3203
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 6805
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 5070
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 6758

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 005232

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE PASS FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION FOR COMMISSIONER HARBOUR,
ATTORNEY-ADVISOR PRICE

FTC ALSO FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS - TRITELL, HEYDER, SHANAHAN

STATE FOR EAP/EP

STATE ALSO PASS USTR FOR AUSTR CUTLER AND MBEEMAN

JUSTICE FOR ANTITRUST DIVISION - CHEMTOB

COMMERCE FOR 4410/ITA/MAC/OJ/MELCHER

COMMERCE ALSO FOR 4430/ITA/MAC/OPB/BFISHER

PARIS FOR USOECD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD EINV KCRM PGOV JA
SUBJECT: FTC COMMISSIONER HARBOUR MEETINGS WITH GOJ


1. Summary: Japanese officials who met with Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour November 8 showed
interest in stronger cooperation with the United States on antitrust
issues as well as in initiatives related to e-commerce and consumer
protection. The Japan Fair Trade Commission Chairman hoped for
stronger ties with the United States and the EU in dealing with
international cartels. Relevant officials of the Cabinet Office and
the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) were supportive
of an APEC initiative on e-commerce privacy, but could not yet
confirm GOJ participation. METI is also looking to establish a
working-level dialogue with the FTC on Internet regulation. End
summary.

JFTC to Strengthen International Cooperation in Fighting Cartels
--------------------------------------------- --

2. The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) will be more active in
pursuing cross-border cartels, according to JFTC Chairman Kazuhiko
Takeshima. The JFTC's leniency program, which reduces or eliminates
punitive surcharges on companies guilty of cartel formation or bid
rigging that assist JFTC's investigation, has yielded over 150
leniency applications since its inception in 2006. Among the
leniency applicants, Takeshima noted, were several non-Japanese
companies, an indication of possible international cartel activity.
Takeshima expressed hope the JFTC could increase cooperation with
its overseas counterparts particularly in the United States and the
EU. He also outlined for Commissioner Harbour the JFTC's plan to
seek legislative authority to apply surcharges on business practices
covered under Japan's Premiums and Misrepresentations Act.

Cabinet Office Interests Center on Consumer Protection
--------------------------------------------- ---------

3. The principles in the APEC e-commerce privacy "pathfinder"
initiative largely correspond to Japan's privacy regime, Cabinet
Office Quality-of-Life Director General Tatsuo Nishi observed to
Commissioner Harbour. Nishi reviewed for the Commissioner the scope
and institutional structure of privacy regulation in Japan as laid
out in the 2003 "Act on the Protection of Personal Information,"
Japan's main privacy law. In addition, Kaori Yamazaki of the
Bureau's Consumer Planning Division queried the Commissioner
regarding the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's role in resolving
individual consumer complaints as well as the difference between
consumer protection actions at the federal and state levels. The
Commissioner stressed the FTC intervenes primarily when consumer
welfare is broadly affected and not on individual cases. The
Commissioner acknowledged the relative complexity of the U.S.
system, including the existence of overlapping jurisdiction between
state and federal authorities.

METI Considering Participation in Privacy Pathfinder
--------------------------------------------- -------

4. METI Commerce and Information Director General Hideichi Okada
expressed interest in the APEC privacy "pathfinder" initiative and
said the Ministry, along with other relevant GOJ agencies and
private sector interests, is studying the options for possible
Japanese participation. Although Okada could not commit at the
moment to Japan's taking part in any of the initiative's specific
projects, he hoped to be able to determine soon as to which projects
would benefit most from Japan's participation and how.

5. Okada indicated another area of GOJ concern is cross-border

TOKYO 00005232 002 OF 002


regulation of Internet "spam" and websites with "hazardous" content.
He recounted how he had just attended a meeting with three
different ministries on this issue and noted the United States has
legislation in place that allows USG action against malicious
cross-border Internet activity. Japanese business, however, opposes
greater controls on unsolicited e-mail such as the "opt in" system
in place in the United States. (Note: Commissioner Harbour
corrected his misunderstanding of the United States' "opt-out"
regime. End Note.) According to Okada, this situation puts METI,
which sees itself more as an advocate for Japanese industry than a
regulator, in a difficult position. Okada proposed arranging a
working-level meeting of METI and FTC officials to exchange views on
this question in detail, a proposal that the Commissioner received
positively. METI Americas Division Director Noriyuki Mita stated he
hoped to meet with the FTC on e-commerce and Internet control issues
during his next trip to Washington.

6. FTC staff cleared this message subsequent to the Commissioner's
departure from Tokyo.

DONOVAN

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