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Antitrust watchdog in Japan searches Rakuten over free shipping policy

Christian Fernsby |
Japan's antitrust watchdog today searched Rakuten Inc. over the internet mall operator's plan to make marketplace tenants shoulder the cost of its proposed free shipping service, sources close to the matter said, Reuters reports.

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The Japan Fair Trade Commissions last month launched an investigation on suspicion the e-commerce giant is breaching the antimonopoly law by abusing the company's dominant position against smaller online retailers that depend on its platform, the sources said.

The probe came after a group of around 450 merchants filed a petition to the commission in January claiming that Rakuten is forcing them to bear the costs of shipping for all orders exceeding 3,980 yen ($36) starting March 18.

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