Rakuten, Booking.com, Expedia raided by Japan antitrust watchdog
Japan Today -- Apr 11
Japan's antitrust watchdog on Wednesday raided the offices of Rakuten Inc and two other online booking operators, alleging they hurt fair trade by requiring accommodation clients offer their lowest prices on their platforms, according to a source close to the matter.

The Japan Fair Trade Commission's probe comes amid its closer scrutiny of alleged obscure business transactions involving providers of digital platforms for the sale of products and services via search engines and e-commerce sites, among other avenues.

According to the source, Tokyo-based Rakuten, U.S. firm Expedia Group Inc and Dutch outfit Booking.com B.V. have, for several years, allegedly urged clients to set accommodation prices the same as, or lower than, those they offered on rival websites and on hotels' official sites.

Rakuten said it "will fully cooperate with the investigation".

In August 2016, the commission conducted a similar on-site probe of Amazon Japan, on suspicion it signed contracts with suppliers under which they agreed to make their product line-ups and prices competitive, or at least match those on rival online retailers.

The commission terminated its probe in June 2017 once the company retracted such conditions, without ruling whether antitrust law had been violated.

In March last year, the commission again raided Amazon Japan for allegedly violating the antitrust law by having suppliers shoulder part of the costs to cover discounts the retailer applied to goods. That investigation is ongoing.

旅行予約サイトを運営する大手3社が、契約先のホテルや旅館などに対し、ほかのサイトでは安い価格を提供しないよう求めていた疑いがあるとして、公正取引委員会が立ち入り検査を行っている。
News sources: Japan Today, FNNnewsCH
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