• Kyodo News

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The Fair Trade Commission carried out an on-site inspection Thursday at the Tokyo headquarters of supermarket chain Eco’s Co. on suspicion that it forced its suppliers to reduce prices and send their workers to help operate its stores, sources said.

According to the sources, Eco’s is believed to have abused its dominant bargaining position over the food suppliers and forced them to cut their prices and send their employees to help put products on shelves on occasions such as the opening of new stores, in violation of the Antimonopoly Law.

An Eco’s official said, “The company is willing to fully cooperate with the investigation.”

Based in Akishima, western Tokyo, Eco’s operates 68 outlets in eight prefectures — Tokyo, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa — and reported sales of about 70 billion yen in business 2006.

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