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Japan to Open Antitrust Probe into Rakuten's Free Delivery Plan

Japan to Open Antitrust Probe into Rakuten's Free Delivery Plan

   Tokyo, Jan. 22 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Fair Trade Commission said Wednesday it will open an investigation into Rakuten Inc.'s <4755> plan to scrap delivery fees for certain purchases at its online shopping site.
   "We'll act appropriately after a necessary investigation," Shuichi Sugahisa, the antitrust agency's secretary-general, said at a press conference.
   The comments came after a group of about 300 tenants at the Rakuten Ichiba cybermall filed a petition with some 4,000 signatures to the FTC, calling for an order for the company to scrap the free delivery plan.
   The group alleges that Rakuten's move amounts to an abuse of its dominant position, banned under the antimonopoly law. These tenants complain that Rakuten's plan means that they will be forced to pay the delivery costs if they cannot pass on them in prices.
   Tenants have been able to set delivery fees themselves, but the company has announced plans to introduce unified standards, starting March 18.

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