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Japan Investigates Matsushita

October 12, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ Japan’s fair trade watchdog began investigating Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. on Thursday over a possible violation of the country’s antimonopoly law, officials said.

The electronics giant is suspected of forcing Japanese dealers of its National and Panasonic brand products to maintain prices set by the company and stopping or limiting shipments to those that failed to comply, said Keiko Unotoro, a Fair Trade Commission investigator.

Setsuo Mizoguchi, a spokesman at Matsushita’s Osaka headquarters, confirmed the investigation was underway but refused to comment further.

Matsushita is one of the world’s largest producers of consumer electronics. If the company is found guilty of violating the antimonopoly law, the immediate repercussions will be limited.

``There’s no particular penalty,″ the FTC’s Unotoro said. ``We’ll just ask them to stop.″

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