• Kyodo

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Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), said he disagrees with major Internet retailer Rakuten’s claim that the nation’s biggest business lobby intends to protect the electricity industry amid the nuclear crisis set off by the March earthquake-tsunami disaster.

Keidanren is “not a group for the interests of a certain industry but a policy group for improving the living quality of the general public and the Japanese economy,” Yonekura said Monday in a speech in Tokyo after Keidanren received a document notifying them of Rakuten’s intention to withdraw from the business group.

Yonekura said there is a huge misunderstanding by Rakuten about Keidanren.

Rakuten Chief Executive Officer Hiroshi Mikitani posted a message on the Twitter social network saying it disagrees with Keidanren’s attitude toward the electricity industry, saying it is “unacceptable.”

Rakuten also explained the reason for withdrawal, saying the two differ in direction and philosophy as many members of the influential business lobby are manufacturers and other businesses different from itself.

Rakuten joined Keidanren in 2004.

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