FTC nominee vows fair competition

Kyodo

Fair Trade Commission Chairman nominee Kazuyuki Sugimoto pledged Friday to promote fair competition as head of the antimonopoly watchdog.

“It is very important to promote fair, free competition to invigorate the economy and (protect) consumer interests,” he said during a confirmation hearing at the Lower House Steering Committee.

Sugimoto, 62, a former vice finance minister, also vowed to “strictly address” bid-rigging and other illegal business practices.

On the planned consumption tax hike in April 2014, Sugimoto, now chairman of Mizuho Research Institute, said he will play a role in allowing small companies to pass on the tax hike through product prices.

The government is expected to win Diet approval of the nomination now that the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition group, appears to be moving toward accepting the nomination, parliamentary sources said.

When the government proposed the nomination at the two Diet chambers’ steering committees on Feb. 8, the DPJ refused to consider the proposal on the grounds that it had been leaked to the press before its submission.

After government officials apologized over the leak and on Wednesday pledged efforts to prevent similar incidents, the DPJ agreed to consider the nomination.