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Japan Watchdog Asks Court To Halt Rakuten’s Free Shipping Plan

 |  March 1, 2020

Japan’s antitrust watchdog announced Friday, February 28, it has asked a court to halt Rakuten’s plan to make retailers on its online marketplace shoulder the cost of free shipping following complaints about the policy.

The Japan Fair Trade Commission submitted the request to the Tokyo District Court after launching an investigation last month into whether the e-commerce giant was violating the antimonopoly law by abusing its dominant position over smaller online merchants that depend on its platform.

The court will conduct a hearing with the company to decide on whether to issue an order to halt the plan for online retailers to cover the costs of free shipping for all orders exceeding 3,980 yen (US$36) from March 18.

Rakuten believes free shipping will attract customers and contribute to higher sales for online retailers.

But the Commission stated its ongoing probe had found no evidence that the policy would help retailers to increase sales.

The South Korean regulator, which last submitted such a request to a court in 2004, took action as Rakuten President Hiroshi Mikitani said his company would go ahead with the plan even after its Tokyo head office was searched earlier this month

Full Content: Mainichi

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