Amazon’s Japanese offices were searched by government regulators seeking to learn if the company sought unfair advantages over competitors.
A source familiar with the matter said Japan’s Fair Trade Commission raided the offices to learn if the e-commerce retailer had forced suppliers to set lower prices to give Amazon.com a competitive advantage, Bloomberg News reported Monday. Under Japanese law, it is illegal for businesses to impose restrictions on commercial activities of counter-parties, including suppliers.
The Fair Trade Commission could impose a cease-and-desist order or issue a warning. Competitors in Japan could sue Amazon in court for compensatory damages.
Japan accounts for 7.7 percent of Amazon’s $107 billion in global net sales, or about $8.3 billion.
European Union regulators opened a formal investigation in 2015, examining whether Amazon.com used its marketing power to force e-book publishers to accept terms harmful to purchasers.