The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) has opened an investigation into MT Picture Display Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., on suspicion that it formed an international cartel to fix global prices of cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) in Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. CRTs are the principal component of low definition television displays and computer monitors. Although the worldwide market for CRTs is decreasing due to the recent penetration of liquid crystal displays and plasma displays, CRT’s annual global sales remain at approximately 500 billion yen (about US$4.48 billion).
On November 9, 2007 a spokesperson for Matsushita announced that company offices around the world had been raided by investigators from the JFTC and others foreign competition authorities. The JFTC is coordinating its investigation with its counterparts in the United States, the European Union and South Korea. Other companies that were subject to similar surprise inspections included Samsung SDI Co. Ltd., a division of Korea-based Samsung Electronics, and Royal Philips Electronics NV.