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Amazon Japan in Trouble With FTC Over Antitrust Allegations

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The Fair Trade Commission in Japan recently raided Amazon’s local offices on the grounds that it was violating the country’s antimonopoly act.

People familiar with the matter told the Nikkei newspaper about the raid, though they did not say when it took place, noting that Amazon Japan had “unfairly forced retailers to favor its e-commerce website over rival sites” and that it may also have pressured vendors into slashing prices. Japan’s antimonopoly act prohibits a company from imposing restrictions on other companies with which it has a business agreement.

Amazon Japan, founded in 1998, raked in net sales of $8.26 billion in 2015—a relatively minute portion of the company’s consolidated net sales of $107 billion last year.

It’s not Amazon’s first run-in with international anti-trust regulators. A year ago the European Commission opened a formal investigation into the company’s e-books distribution deals to determine whether certain clauses in its contracts violate competition rules. Before that, Amazon’s conditions for third-party sellers on its Marketplace platform were probed by Britain’s Office of Fair Trading and Germany’s Federal Cartel Office.

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