ANTITRUST

Amazon Japan Office Raided By Fair Trade Regulator

Amazon Japan revealed news on Thursday (March 15) that its offices were raided by Japan’s fair trade regulator.

Reuters, citing an Amazon Japan spokesperson, reported that the Fair Trade Commission raided the office over suspicions that the company was engaged in antitrust behaviors. The Amazon Japan spokesperson declined to comment further or provide more details about the alleged violations.

Kyodo News, citing sources related to the matter, reported Amazon is suspected of requiring suppliers to cover the costs incurred from selling products for a cheaper rate on the Amazon Japan platform. Reuters also cited The Asahi daily as reporting that Amazon may have required a so-called collaboration fee, which is a percentage of the selling price of the product the merchant is hawking.

Reuters noted this isn’t the first time Amazon Japan has supposedly run afoul of regulators in the country. The Fair Trade Commission found in the past that Amazon Japan required its suppliers that sold products on several platforms to list their items on Amazon Japan at the same price or even at a lower price point. Amazon Japan opted to stop doing that, which ended the inquiry in June 2017.

The same month, Amazon debuted Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) to Japanese customers of Amazon Prime and Prime Student membership programs. Amazon customers with an NTT DOCOMO or KDDI (au) mobile phone account could pay for the Amazon Prime membership fee, either monthly or annually, by charging the cost to their mobile phone bill. Students in Japan could also use the new payment method to pay for their annual membership fees to the Prime Student program. Selecting the carrier billing payment method enabled customers to make purchases instantly without the need to register their card details online. Bango technology ensured reliability, security and customer success when paying with carrier billing.

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