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Japan’s Fair Trade Commission will launch a survey on cloud services to uncover possible unfair business practices, FTC Secretary-General Shuichi Sugahisa said Wednesday.

It has been pointed out that the cloud market, through which wide-ranging on-demand services including data management and emailing are provided to business and individual customers via the internet, is becoming oligopolistic due to the rise of information and technology giants such as Google Inc., Sugahisa said.

The antimonopoly watchdog needs to check whether an environment for fair competition is secure in the market, he said.

The fact-finding investigation is part of a series of FTC surveys on digital markets including for online shopping, app retailing and advertising.

Findings in those surveys have helped the government create frameworks for regulating IT mammoths.

In the cloud market survey, the FTC plans to look into specific service areas if necessary.

There have been claims that it is costly and time-consuming for customers to switch to other cloud services.

The FTC believes that such constraints may be hampering fair competition in the market, informed sources said.

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