TOHO Cinemas Commits To Stop Coercing Movie Distributors Following JFTC’s Investigation

TOHO Cinemas, a major movie theatre chain in Japan, has been under investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission for violating the Antimonopoly Act, since 2022.

TOHO cinemas was suspected of exerting pressure on movie distributors to distribute films to only their theatres (TOHO Cinemas), while discouraging them from distributing it to any other companies.

TOHO cinemas even intimidated to cease trade with their partners if they did not comply with their demands. This resulted in an unfair restriction in the movie distributor’s business.

The JFTC determined that such conduct would interfere with other companies’ transactions and potentially result in a private monopoly or binding transactions under the Antimonopoly Act.

However, there has been a development in the matter recently.

TOHO Cinemas

According to NHK, which carried interviews with insiders in the organization, TOHO Cinemas has submitted a plan to voluntarily take preventive measures from this action repeating in the future.

In this plan, the company commited to not make any disadvantageous requests of its distributors in the future and outlines measures to prevent a recurrence of this in the future.

If the preventive measures presented in the plan are deemed sufficient, then there is a chance of administrative sanctions being waived off. The Fair Trade Commission will review the contents in the coming days and make a decision accordingly.

The Fair Trade Commission has been pursuing an investigation to find any potential violation of The Antimonopoly Act {Act on Prohibition of Private Monopolization and Maintenance of Fair Trade (Act No. 54 of April 14, 1947)} in Japan.

The Antimonopoly Act aims to prohibit unreasonable restraint of trade and unfair trade practices along with preventing private monopolization.

TOHO Cinemas refused to comment on the matter as it is currently under investigation. They however added that they are cooperating with the Fair Trade Commission’s investigation.

TOHO Cinemas is a Japanese theatre chain owned by Toho. It runs 677 screens at 72 theaters across Japan.

Source: NHK