Japan's Fair Trade Commission probes restaurant booking websites over alleged strong-arm tactics


The Fair Trade Commission has launched an investigation into whether the operators of major restaurant search and booking websites in the country have imposed unreasonable conditions on participant eateries.

FTC Secretary-General Akinori Yamada announced the launch of the investigation during a news conference Wednesday.

He said that well-known websites are being probed, but stopped short of naming them. The sites are believed to include Tabelog and Gurunavi.

The investigation is expected to focus on whether the website operators abused their dominant positions to make restaurants and bars offer discounts or restrict them from signing up with other websites.

After interviews with the website operators and eateries, the FTC will decide whether to disclose the findings.

Previously, the antitrust watchdog conducted investigations of the operators of online shopping and app selling websites as part of its efforts to strengthen regulations on information technology giants referred to in Japan as digital platformers. The probe of eatery search websites is apparently being conducted for the same purpose.

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