Washington International Law Journal


In 1947, Japan enacted the Act Concerning Prohibition of Monopolization and Maintenance of Fair Trade ("AMA"), known to some as the "Economic Constitution of Japan" because of its fundamental role in structuring Japan's economy. Among the most profound legislative provisions the 1947 AMA introduced to Japanese economic law are an absolute prohibition on pure holding companies and strict regulations upon stockholding by certain other types of companies. The legislature established these provisions as part of a plan to de-concentrate excessive economic power then wielded in the Japanese economy by large integrated enterprise complexes known as the zaibatsu. Fifty years later, in 1997, Japan enacted the Act for Partial Amendment of the AMA which eliminated the absolute prohibition on pure holding companies and relaxed regulations on stockholding by other types of companies. This Article discusses the 1997 AMA revisions and explores their historic legal, political, and economic significance, all of which have been a topic of great notoriety in Japan but thus far have received little comment from legal scholars in other nations.

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