Business / Corporate

Facebook joins Keidanren, Japan's powerful business lobby

Kyodo

As information technology giants come under increased regulatory pressure, the Japan unit of Facebook Inc. said Monday it has joined the country’s most powerful business lobby.

Joining Keidanren, also known as the Japan Business Federation, is seen as an attempt by Facebook to build ties with Japanese business circles and the government.

For Keidanren, which is still mainly composed of major manufacturers, Facebook’s presence will help it reflect the views of IT companies in its policy proposals.

“We hope to contribute to the further growth of the Japanese economy and society … by coordinating closely with member companies of Keidanren to provide beneficial value to Japanese users, companies and society,” Facebook Japan said in a statement.

The social networking site launched its Japanese version in 2008, with monthly users reaching around 26 million as of March. Its affiliate Instagram, a photo- and video-sharing platform, has also been gaining traction among younger people.

Amazon Japan and flea market app operator Mercari Inc. joined Keidanren last December.

In November, Keidanren revised its membership eligibility rules by lowering the net assets requirement from ¥1 billion to ¥100 million in an effort to allow a wider variety of companies, including startups, to join.

The government has recently stepped up scrutiny over tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple for allegedly abusing their dominant position by enforcing contract terms and rules that are disadvantageous to smaller firms, leaving them to shoulder an unfair share of costs.

It plans to submit a bill to the Diet next year to regulate large global and domestic IT firms. The bill’s authors say it is designed to enhance transparency in business transactions by making contract terms public among other measures.