Last year, the DOJ Antitrust Division filed its first charges against a company since it began its investigation into potential price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the international ocean shipping industry. On January 30, 2015, the first individual was sentenced for the alleged shipping conspiracy, and on February 6, 2015, the second individual was sentenced. Two additional individuals pled guilty each on March 10 and 26, 2015.

Hiroshige Tanioka, Takashi Yamaguchi and Toru Otoda, all general managers at Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd., as well as Susumu Tanaka, a general manager at Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, pled guilty to conspiring to allocate customers and routes, rig bids, and fix prices for the sale of international ocean shipments of “roll-on, roll-off” cargo to and from the United States and elsewhere. The executives were fined $20,000 each and sentenced to serve time in U.S. prison − Tanioka and Otoda were sentenced to 18-month terms of imprisonment, Tanaka was sentenced to a 15-month term, and Yamaguchi was sentenced to a 14-month term. The executives all agreed to cooperate with the DOJ’s ongoing investigation of the conspiracy.