The Tokyo Reporter

Japan antitrust watchdog probes dept. store giants in bid-ridding

Several department store giants are being investigated for bid-rigging over uniforms for JR West and JR East (Fuji News Network)

TOKYO (TR) – Several department store giants including Isetan Mitsukoshi and Sogo & Seibu are being investigated for years of bid-rigging over uniforms supplied to JR East and JR West, Japan’s antitrust watchdog said on Tuesday.

The Fair Trade Commission is running on-site inspections for some 10 department store giants on suspicion of bid-rigging over supplying uniforms to train drivers and station staff of JR East and JR West by discussing which firm would take on orders since at least a few years ago, a source told the Sankei Shimbun (September 13).

JR East and JR West, which together employ some 90,000 workers, solicit estimates for uniforms from several firms and choose a supplier based on prices in a so-called “match-the-estimates” process.

A Sogo & Seibu official said “on-site inspections are happening, it’s true. We hope to cooperate with the investigation.”

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