Japan to fine Meta, Twitter if they keep neglecting domestic registry

Nikkei -- Jun 20
The Japanese government is set to levy fines against overseas IT giants that have failed to register their overseas headquarters in Japan, Nikkei has learned.

A total of 48 companies, including Twitter, Facebook-owner Meta and Google, were asked to register by the end of March, but it is thought that some have still not complied. With more countries stepping up regulations on IT giants to protect users, Japan is looking to enact its own strict measures.

In early June, the Ministry of Justice reiterated its request that some companies register their global headquarters in Japan by June 13. The ministry said that it would ask courts to fine the companies if they still have no intention of registering.

If IT companies have their headquarters registered in Japan, consumers would have an easier time filing lawsuits when problems, such as defamation on social media websites, occur. The government believes proper registration is essential to protect consumers.

Japan's corporate code requires overseas companies doing business in the country on a continuous basis to register a headquarters in Japan. Overseas IT companies maintain that they are providing their services through the internet and are not continuously developing their business by establishing bases in Japan. These companies also appear to have insisted they believe it is enough to register their Japan-based units, such as those handling marketing operations.

The companies are also less likely to register because of the small correctional fine of 1 million yen ($7,400).

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