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The Defense Agency filed a lawsuit Friday with the Tokyo District Court, demanding three battery manufacturers involved in big-rigging return some 700 million yen in improper profits, agency officials said.

The Fair Trade Commission has ruled that FDK Corp. and Toshiba Battery Co., both based in Tokyo, and Tokan in Chiba Prefecture, rigged battery-contract bids for wireless communications equipment bought by the Ground Self-Defense Force from April 1997 to March 2000.

It is the first time the Defense Agency has filed a lawsuit demanding companies pay back profits from illicit bids.

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