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Japan’s Proposed App Store Law Would Do No Good

Following in the footsteps of the European Union, the Japanese Diet is now considering legislation that would force Apple and Google to loosen controls around their app stores, in-app payments, web browsers and search services.

Unlike Japan’s Antimonopoly Act, which empowers the government only to take action against anticompetitive practices when they occur, the proposed bill focuses on trying to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

But as Rob Atkinson writes in Nikkei Asia, taking a cue from the EU does not make sense for Japan, because Brussels’ regulations were adopted in large measure as a response to the bloc’s failure to produce any leading digital companies of its own. Japan, by contrast, is home to many of the world’s top technology companies.

At this critical juncture, the Diet must carefully weigh the harms and benefits of adopting the proposed smartphone bill. Imagining that the costs of the regulation will only be borne by American companies overlooks the tremendous benefits their products have brought Japanese consumers and the potential for further innovation as well as the competitive threat posed by China.

Read the full op-ed.

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