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The Fair Trade Commission on Thursday searched the head office and branches of discount home electronics chain Yamada Denki Co. for allegedly pressuring suppliers to have their employees do work for it, sources said.

The company, based in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, is suspected of forcing its suppliers to send their workers to its new stores to help put products out, the sources said.

Yamada Denki was not immediately available for comment.

The retailer, which was founded in 1973, made an initial public offering in 1989 and was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2000.

The alleged behavior is a violation of an article in the Antimonopoly Law. The article was initially applied to department stores but since May 2004, the FTC has been applying it to other large retailers, including mass discount stores and hardware store chains.

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