Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Japan: Two Laws Revised to Protect Technology

(July 7, 2009) Two national laws were amended this year to protect the technology and trade secrets of firms in Japan. The amendment of the Unfair Competition Prevention Law was promulgated on April 30, 2009 (Law No. 30 of 2009). The old law did not punish acts of revealing business secrets for the purpose of harassing the holder of the information or of an employee's bringing out a company's secret information. The amendment widened the “purposes” requirement (that is, the motive that must be established to make an act a crime under this law) and the punishable pattern of acts. The purposes provision was changed from “unfair competition purposes” to “purposes of gaining unjust profit” and “purposes of causing damage to the holder of the information.” Also, in addition to “use or disclosure” of business secrets, possession of the information outside of assigned business purposes and copying such information without authorization are punishable. (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Fusei kyōsō bōshi hō no Ichibu o kaisei suru hōritsu an ni tsuite [Regarding the Bill to Amend the Unfair Competition Prevention Law], Feb. 27, 2009, available at

An amendment of the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law (FEFTL) was also promulgated on April 30, 2009 (Law No. 32 of 2009). Any transfer of technology that may pose a threat to international peace and security is subject to a requirement of obtaining the permission of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Before the amendment, only the transfer of the technology from a resident to non-resident was subject to the regulation. The amendment obligates the METI to issue an ordinance that sets up a standard compliance program on export management. Sanctions against violations of the law were also enhanced. (Center for Information on Security Trade Control, Gaitamehō no kaiseian nit suite [Regarding the Bill to Amend FEFTL], Feb. 27, 2009, available at