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Steven Jos Van Uytsel Last modified date:2020.06.22

Associate Professor / International Economic Law
Department of International Legal Studies
Faculty of Law

Graduate School

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Academic Degree
Country of degree conferring institution (Overseas)
Field of Specialization
competition law, law and economics, consumer law and natural resources law, Al
ORCID(Open Researcher and Contributor ID)
Total Priod of education and research career in the foreign country
Research Interests
  • Horizontal Shareholding and Competition Law
    keyword : horizontal shareholding, fintech, asia
  • Algorithms and the Law
    keyword : Algorithms
  • The Japanese Leniency Program
    keyword : competition law, leniency, empirical study
  • Competition law and enforcement
    keyword : Competition law, enforcement, leniency program
  • Law and Culture (Trade and Culture, Safeguarding, Protecting)
    keyword : Law and Culture
  • Competition Law and Internationalization
    keyword : competition law; internationalization
Current and Past Project
  • This projects aims at mapping out the laws that regulate the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage or that affect the regulation of intangible cultural heritage in the Mekong area.
Academic Activities
1. Stefan Wrbka, Steven Van Uytsel & Mathias Siems, Access to Justice and Collective Actions: Florence and Beyond, Collective Actions: Enhancing Access to Justice and Reconciling Multilayer Interests?, 1-19, 2012.04.
2. Steven Van Uytsel, Collective Actions, Access to Justice and Multilayer Interests: Enhancement and Reconciliation in the Field of Competition Law?,, 57, 2012.04.
3. Steven Van Uytsel, Beyond the European Community Treaty Provisions: A Need to Question the Cassis de Dijon Rule of Reason in Wouters?, Hosei Kenkyuu, 76, 1-2, F1-248, 2009.12, [URL].
1. Steven Jos Van Uytsel, Tackling Cartel Behavior in the Japanese Society: A Quest for a Different Approach, The Asian Law and Society, 2016.09, Deterrence has, for decades, been the mantra of competition law enforcement authorities in their fight against cartels. Fines and, if available, jail sentences reached record heights. Leniency policies were adopted to reach a higher probability of detection. The focus on high fines and increased probability of detection was inspired by assumption that firms are rational profit maximizers, weighing the costs and benefits of entering in a cartel, and that the height of fines and the probability of detection are determining factors for the cost of participating in a cartel.
Japan has for a long time not paid any attention to the deterrence mantra. To the contrary, the Japanese government undertook several initiatives to encourage cartel formation in the 1950s and 1960s. It could be stated that the favorable stance towards cartels finally faded away in the late 1990s, with an exception in the 1970s. In the 1970s, the Japanese legislator conceptualized a new sanction, the administrative surcharge. During the 1990s, the final pro-cartel legislations were abolished. At the same time, the legislator has taken steps to increase the level of fines and the Japan Fair Trade Commission has stepped up its enforcement initiatives.
The step towards a stricter application of the Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) continued since the turn to a new century. In 2005, Japan followed the steps of the United States and the European Union in implementing a leniency policy with the aim of increasing the probability of detection. In 2015, a long standing debate in academic writing was taken up in order to study whether it could be transformed into a policy goal. If implemented, this would mean that the JFTC would not be bound anymore by a legally determined percentage of the turnover when deciding on the surcharge.
Recent international scholarship is questioning whether the neoclassical economic paradigm of deterrence is effective. Maurice Stucke, for example, is pointing out, with four indicators, that cartel activity is persistent. A first indicator is the fact that penalties do not decrease. A second indicator is that the duration of cartels does not diminish. A third indicator is the continued workload of the enforcement authority in dealing with cartels. A fourth indicator is that firms persist in cartel formation even after publicizing record high fines.
Even though steps have been taken towards deterrence, Japan does still score badly on several of the indicators mentioned by Stucke. It may thus be questioned whether a continued emphasis on deterrence would deliver better results. This will be especially true if cartel formation is the result of a cost-benefit analysis, but of elements present in a certain society. That these societal elements are present in Japan will be the argument of this paper. Their presence will require a different approach, one that focuses on improving corporate culture, if one is serious of tackling cartel formation..
Membership in Academic Society
  • Academic Society for Competition Law
Educational Activities
Contemporary Issues in Competition Law; Legal Research Training; Research Methodology and Writing; Algorithms and the Law; Competition Laws in Asia; English Seminar