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The Fair Trade Commission has notified some 20 printing companies that it will fine them a total of about ¥1.4 billion and issue a cease-and-desist order to them for bid-rigging, Jiji Press learned Thursday.

The companies, including Toppan Forms Co., Kyodo Printing Co. and Nakabayashi Co., are accused of repeating bid-rigging for contracts with the Japan Pension Service, according to informed sources.

The Japan FTC will make a final conclusion about the bid-rigging, which violates the antimonopoly law, after hearing opinions from the companies.

Among the companies, Kyodo Printing and Nakabayashi admitted that they were notified of fines of ¥305 million and ¥310.71 million, respectively.

The companies are said to have coordinated their bids for contracts including those to print postcards and letters used for the Japan Pension Service’s “nenkin teikibin” regular reports on people’s past pension premium payments and future pension receipts.

In October 2019, the commission conducted related on-site inspections of over 30 printing companies. The bid-ridding is believed to have begun several years before the inspections or earlier.

The nenkin teikibin reports are sent to pension subscribers once a year in their birthday month. The sending of the reports started in April 2009 after sloppy management of public pension records came to light.

In fiscal 2018, some 63 million reports were sent out, and the costs were estimated at ¥1.77 billion.

In response to Jiji Press’ requests for comments, Toppan Forms, Kyodo Printing and Nakabayashi said that they gravely accept the fact of receiving the notification and will work on thorough legal compliance.

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