Japan’s antitrust watchdog recently released a statement pointing out that Google’s advertising search restrictions were negatively affecting Yahoo in Japan. This statement came after a study conducted by the Japan Fair Trade Commission, which revealed that Google’s practices were impeding fair competition in the advertising market. Google, in response, claimed to have cooperated fully with the commission’s investigation and emphasized that it had not violated anti-monopoly laws. Despite this, the commission insisted that Google make essential changes to its advertising search functions to benefit Japanese users and advertisers.

Duration of Alleged Questionable Practices

According to the Japan Fair Trade Commission, Google’s questionable practices began around ten years ago and persisted for over seven years. This extended period of anti-competitive behavior raises concerns about Google’s dominance in the Japanese advertising market. As a result, the commission has decided to monitor Google closely for the next three years to ensure that the required changes are implemented. Although Google has not faced immediate fines or penalties, the commission’s scrutiny highlights the seriousness of the situation.

Legal Troubles in Japan

In addition to the antitrust investigation, Google is also facing legal challenges in Japan. The Tokyo District Court recently filed a lawsuit against Google demanding 1.4 million yen in damages for 63 medical professionals. The lawsuit is related to negative reviews posted on Google Maps, further adding to Google’s legal woes in Japan. This legal battle underscores the importance of maintaining accurate and fair online review platforms, especially in industries like healthcare where credibility is paramount.

Google’s antitrust troubles in Japan are a cause for concern for both the company and regulators. The allegations of anti-competitive behavior and the legal challenges highlight the need for greater oversight and accountability in the digital advertising industry. As Google navigates these challenges, it will be essential for the company to demonstrate a commitment to fair competition and consumer protection in Japan and beyond.


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