Business News

Amazon’s Japan offices searched by regulators

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 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 used its marketing power to force e-book publishers to accept terms harmful to purchasers.