The Fair Trade Commission on Tuesday conducted an on-site inspection of Tokyo-based housing equipment sales company Hashimoto Sogyo on suspicion of nonpayment of overtime fees for entrusted transport operators, informed sources said.

The antimonopoly law prohibits the abuse of a shipper's dominant position over an operator. This is the first inspection that the commission has carried out over this regulation.

The transport industry in Japan faces a shortage of drivers due to an overtime cap introduced in April, in what has been called the 2024 problem. The inspection may impact relations between shippers and operators.

According to sources, Hashimoto Sogyo allegedly failed to pay overtime fees to operators to which the company outsourced shipping and loading work when it sold housing equipment wholesale to retailers. The company is also suspected of reducing payments to the entrusted operators by several percent in the name of rebates.

Founded in April 2015, Hashimoto Sogyo is capitalized at ¥101 million ($642,000) and its sales in the fiscal year to March 2023 totaled around ¥135.2 billion, according to the company's website.

The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hashimoto Sogyo Holdings, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's Standard section.