Japan's plea bargaining system likely to increase corporate risks, complicate antitrust-defense strategies

5 July 2018 8:25am
Japan's recent introduction of a system for plea bargaining increases the risk that companies and their employees could face criminal investigations for anticompetitive conduct in the future, although such charges have been rare in the past. While prosecutors say they will use the new system cautiously, the risk of criminal punishments will add a new element to the antitrust strategies of companies in Japan.

The adoption of the plea bargaining system is aimed at combatting organized crime, including antitrust violations.

Under the system, which took effect on June 1 as part of an amendment two years ago of the code on criminal procedure, suspects and defendants can avoid indictment or receive lighter sentences if they provide evidence and testimony to uncover crimes by other people.

By Sachiko Sakamaki