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Platform Regulation in Japan

Towards Regulatory Cooperation between the EU and Japan

On 1 February 2019, the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union (EU) and Japan (EUJEPA) entered into force, creating one of the largest open trade zones in the world. The EUJEPA not only creates a marketplace for 635 million people and almost a third of the world’s gross domestic product. It is also aimed at promoting common values and principles such as fair competition and consumer protection. Notably, the EUJEPA is the first EU trade agreement to include a separate chapter on regulatory cooperation and to set up a joint body called the Regulatory Cooperation Committee (RCC) to identify areas of future cooperation between the EU and Japan.

Against this background, a group of researchers co-ordinated by Professor Christoph Busch (Osnabrück) and Professor Kunihiro Nakata (Kyoto) explores the potential for a regulatory cooperation between the EU and Japan in the field of consumer protection and fair competition on digital markets. For this purpose, the joint project undertakes a comparative analysis of different regulatory techniques for digital platforms, including legislative and non-legislative instruments (e.g. industry self-regulation, codes of conduct, standardization) in the EU and Japan.

In this perspective the project pursues a triple aim: First, it will be analysed to what extent new regulatory instruments used by Japanese law may serve as a model for the German and European legislator. Second, it will be explored whether the emerging regulatory framework for a digital single market in the European Union could serve as a model for regional cross- border platform regulation in East Asia, in particular between China, Korea and Japan. Third, the identification of best practices for innovation-friendly platform regulation could contribute to inter-regional harmonization of legal requirements for online platforms in East Asia and Europe and thus foster the growth of electronic commerce between the two regions.

The project is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) under a PAJAKO Grant (2020-2021). In December 2022, a new PAJAKO Grant was awarded to Professor Busch and Professor Nakata by the DAAD. This will enable the research group to continue the project in 2023 and 2024 with a focus on recent regulatory developments. In particular, the research group will explore how the the EU Digital Services Act Package influences policy debates in Japan.


Project team

Prof. Dr. Christoph Busch, University of Osnabrück (co-ordinator)

Prof. Dr. Kunihiro Nakata, Ryukoku University, Kyoto (co-ordinator)

Prof. Dr. Bernd Hartmann, University of Osnabrück

Prof. Dr. Naoko Kano, Keio University, Tokyo

Prof. Dr. Antonios Karaiskos, University of Kyoto

Prof. Dr. Naoko Kawamura, Kokugakuin University, Tokyo

Dr. Emi Ohashi, Shimane University, Matsue

Prof. Dr. Louisa Specht-Riemenschneider, University of Bonn

Prof. Dr. Mina Wakabayashi, Ryukoku University, Kyoto



C. Busch, ヨーロッパにおけるオンライン仲介プラットフォームのための規制枠組みに向けて [Towards a Regulatory Framework for Online Intermediary Platforms in Europe], in: Kunihiro Nakata et al. (eds) Modernisation of European Private Law and Consumer Law and Developments in Japanese Private Law, Nihon Hyoronsha 2020, 126-141.



On March 13, 2023, Prof. Busch hosted a German-Japanese workshop on legal issues of platform regulation at the European Legal Studies Institute. During the workshop, Prof. Kunihiro Nakata (Ryukoku University), Prof. Naoko Kano (Keio University), Prof. Antonios Karaiskos (Kyoto University) and Prof. Naoko Kawamura (Kokugakuin University) reported on recent legal policy developments in Japan. Prof. Busch and his team presented an overview of the Digital Services Act and the forthcoming reform of product liability rules for online marketplaces.