5 companies in Japan searched over alleged bid-rigging in public COVID project

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 15, 2023
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TOKYO, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Japan Fair Trade Commission on Wednesday searched locations linked to five travel agencies for allegedly rigging bids in a COVID-19-related project in the city of Aomori, local media reported.

The locations searched on suspicion of violating the antimonopoly law included the Aomori office of Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., JTB Corp., the Tohoku unit of Nippon Travel Agency Co., Meitetsu World Travel Inc. and Tobu Top Tours Co., Jiji Press reported.

The Aomori office of Kinki Nippon Tourist won all contracts in five rounds of bidding conducted by the city between April 2022 and March 2023 for a project to transport COVID-19 patients to accommodation facilities, the report said.

Representatives from the five firms got together to discuss tender prices beforehand and make sure that Kinki Nippon Tourist wins the bids, Jiji cited people familiar with the matter as saying, adding that Kinki Nippon Tourist is believed to have assigned work to the other firms as subcontractors after winning the contracts.

The five companies are believed to have engaged in bid-rigging to secure work as they struggled with plunging travel demand due to the pandemic, the report said. Enditem

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