Advertising and marketing—Japan—Q&A guide
Advertising and marketing—Japan—Q&A guide

The following Commercial practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Advertising and marketing—Japan—Q&A guide
  • 1. What are the principal statutes regulating advertising generally?
  • 2. Which bodies are primarily responsible for issuing advertising regulations and enforcing rules on advertising? How is the issue of concurrent jurisdiction among regulators with responsibility for advertising handled?
  • 3. What powers do the regulators have?
  • 4. What are the current major concerns of regulators?
  • 5. Give brief details of any issued industry codes of practice. What are the consequences for non-compliance?
  • 6. Must advertisers register or obtain a licence?
  • 7. May advertisers seek advisory opinions from the regulator? Must certain advertising receive clearance before publication or broadcast?
  • 8. What avenues are available for competitors to challenge advertising? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different avenues for challenging competitors’ advertising?
  • 9. How may members of the public or consumer associations challenge advertising? Who has standing to bring a civil action or start a regulatory proceeding? On what grounds?
  • More...

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to advertising and marketing in Japan published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: November 2020).

Authors: Atsumi & Sakai—Chie Kasahara

1. What are the principal statutes regulating advertising generally?

Advertising activities are generally regulated in Japan by the following acts:

  1. the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations (AUPMR);

  2. the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions (ASCT);

  3. the Medical Care Act;

  4. the Act on Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices (formerly the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act);

  5. the Health Promotion Act; and

  6. the Outdoor Advertisement Act.

There is also a ‘fair commission code’ applicable to advertising, and a number of advertising guidelines issued by trade associations authorised by the Secretary General of Consumer Affairs Agency and the Chief of the Fair Trade Commission of Japan responsible for specific industries.

2. Which bodies are primarily responsible for issuing advertising regulations and enforcing rules on advertising? How is the issue of concurrent jurisdiction among regulators with responsibility for advertising handled?

The Secretary General of the Consumer Affairs Agency and prefecture governors are responsible for issuing advertising regulations and enforcing rules on advertising in accordance with the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations. The Minister of the Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) also has responsibility in accordance with the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions.

In addition, the Japan Advertising Review Organization

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