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Japan’s parliament has approved a law that will force third party App Stores on Apple & Google

An Apple Store in Japan

In a move very similar to the European Union, Japan’s parliament has finished the process to enact a law that prohibits big tech from blocking third-party app stores.

The bill passed Japan’s House of Representatives in may, and now the House of Councillors on Wednesday. Given existing procedure, it does not need to be signed into law by the Emperor.

The intention of the bill is that it will facilitate competition and reduce app prices. Japan’s government reportedly believes that Apple and Google are a duopoly, and that they charge developers high fees that are then passed on to users.

Big tech companies with App Stores will also prohibit companies from prioritizing their own services. Google is likely to be hit hardest by this.

Violators will initially be fined up to 20% of the domestic revenue of the specific service that broke the law. The fee can increase to 30%, if the behavior continues.

The Japanese government’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) will choose which firms to apply it to. Companies that will be regulated will be required to submit compliance reports annually.

While it hasn’t been explicitly said that Apple and Google must comply, It seems certain that the announcement that they’ll be held to the provisions is imminent. The Japan FTC isn’t expected to add any Japanese firms to the list.

The law likely won’t take effect until the end of 2025.

The bill originated from a Competition Assessment of the Mobile Ecosystem done by the Digital Market Competition Council of Japan’s Diet (the joint name for both chambers of Parliament). It was originally proposed in 2023

Apple has not commented on the law when it entered parliament. It did previously defend itself against antitrust accusations in the assessment period.