The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) has confirmed that it issued prior notices of a ceaseand- desist order against five companies alleged to have formed an international cartel to fix prices of marine hose. The companies that received notices include Japan’s Bridgestone Corporation and Yokohama Rubber Co., the UK’s Dunlop Oil and Marine, France’s Trelleborg Industries, a Swedish unit of Trelleborg, and Italy’s Parker ITR and Manuli Rubber Industries S.p.A. The JFTC’s notices were based on findings from a joint investigation into the marine hose industry conducted with regulators from the US and European Union.
Companies that receive notice of a cease-and-desist order may respond through written statements and by submitting evidence in opposition of the action threatened by the JFTC. After examining such responses the JFTC can decline further action or issue an administrative penalty. Although the JFTC has issued cease-and-desist orders against Japan-based companies, the JFTC has until now never taken such action against a foreign company. It is expected that the JFTC will subject only Bridgestone to a surcharge payment order at this time and issue only cease-and-desist orders against Bridgestone’s foreign co-conspirators. The JFTC has decided to forego penalizing Yokohama Rubber Co. because of the company’s admission of guilt.