crime

2 Japanese businessmen charged in U.S. over tech hardware price fixing

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All in the name of Harmony. They just don't get it. These Japanese companies "fix prices", so that they all survive. It is a humanitarian thing that they do.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

All in the name of Harmony. They just don't get it. These Japanese companies "fix prices", so that they all survive. It is a humanitarian thing that they do.

Actually, it's called cheating, and it stifles innovation. It makes products and services needlessly more expensive for everyday people when companies price fix.

I've noticed that prices in Japan are "sticky" and Japanese society does whatever it can to prevent price changes. For example, if input costs for a liter of juice go up, the juice sellers use the same package and change the volume to 900 ml to be able to sell it at the same price.

There's also nearly no inflation and extremely low interest rates in Japan, but at the same time no GDP growth.

I think Japanese business men need to realize that these practices aren't compatible with American values where we focus on growth, ecomonies of scal,e and competition. I suppose we'll continue to see a case like this a few times a year involving Japanese firms.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

NHK Spring was sprung.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

“It is a humanitarian thing that they do.”

humanitarian, your being ironic right?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

That was how a Japanese friend explained the prevalence of price fixing in Japan to me.... regarding my comment earlier. From a westerner's point of view, it is wrong and illegal of course. But that is not to say that it is just a Japanese thing. This started thousands of years ago when guilds ruled commerce. When technology move at a slower pace and newcomers were quickly dealt with.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

CruisinJapanToday  08:47 am JST

Actually, it's called cheating, and it stifles innovation. It makes products and services needlessly more expensive for everyday people when companies price fix.

Not disagreeing with your overall point, but it's hard disk prices in relation to SSDs have always been the cheap alternative, so the 'fixing' that was going on only survived 2008 - 2016 because the market could accept it. You're talking about hard drives being cheaper than they were earlier in history, which amounted to being a fraction more expensive than they would have been. It would have been cents for every unit sold that these men were pocketing, so the 'damage' done to the end user was minimal... hance them getting away with it for so long. Also stifling innovation isn't a factor because faster hard disk prices are on par with lower capacity SSDs so PCs and laptops end up with a combination of both rather than installing a (still slower but more expensive) high speed hard disk.

And 'American values' are just 'values', rebranding them doesn't make them uniquely American.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

SaikoPhyscoToday 07:50 am JST

All in the name of Harmony. They just don't get it. These Japanese companies "fix prices", so that they all survive. It is a humanitarian thing that they do.

Very good. It's interesting that Japanese executives will be charged, tried and jailed in the US but not in Japan.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Also, Capitalist wisdom is "Prices = Income" . The higher the prices, the higher the income.

When competition comes in, everyone lowers prices, and everyone gets poorer. Good for consumers, but what if your consumer makes less because they're in the same situation? Net zero for the consumer and Net negative for all sellers.

Race to the bottom.

You can't blame a company, who's sole existence is to maximize profits (by ANY American definition), for trying to maximize profits.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Lots of arguments off the point to somehow metaphysically exonerate the two Japanese who have been arrested for price fixing. Price fixing is a crime. Hashimoto and Tamura have been arrested for price fixing. If they are found guilty they have to be punished under the law. It is all that simple.

My only question now is whether they are being held in a prison or are they out on bail.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Price fixing is a real plague here in Japan ALL us consumers pay a HUGE PRICE, literally for corruption that is rampant in business & govt here. THAT is why things are usually very expensive here!

Sure service is generally very good, although it can be a bit robotic, VALUE for $$$$ is extremely LOW, look at the "quality" of modern housing here, mostly GARBAGE but very pricy!!

The power at be though do allow us to drink cheap liquor though, to allow the masses be pacified!!!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

pretty much what would happen everyday in Japan if it had a real court of law

5 ( +5 / -0 )

That's capitalism for ya!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I find it interesting that many of your big and established brands, like Whirlpool, American Standard (and many others) are now owned by Japanese.

Since the domestic markets is failiing, big name Japanese companies are buying up US brands.

Is this reciprocal in Japan? Rarely have I seen it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I find it interesting that many of your big and established brands, like Whirlpool, American Standard (and many others) are now owned by Japanese.

Since the domestic markets is failiing, big name Japanese companies are buying up US brands.

Is this reciprocal in Japan? Rarely have I seen it.

Isn't easier to enter a new market by buying an existing company with name recognition and make it better than taking the time to establish a brand new one. Especially if it is already saturated.

Didn't a Japanese company buy a well known alcohol beverage company a while back too.

Chinese companies with the help of their government have been trying to do the same in Japan and other companies for some time now! (Soft Power!)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Business 101 price fixing and monopolizing a huge no no in the US. Enjoy the tennis courts and golf courses in the US federal prison where they will be educated on a better white collar crime course explaining how to get away with it just like on Wall Street.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Isn't easier to enter a new market by buying an existing company with name recognition and make it better than taking the time to establish a brand new one. Especially if it is already saturated.

Didn't a Japanese company buy a well known alcohol beverage company a while back too.

Yes they bought Jim Beam a long time ago. Many of your US heavy industry machinery and motors etc (US Motors, and some supermarket equipment) are owned by Japanese now. These were industry leaders and part of the culture. Im sure they would take over the US military industrial complex if allowed.

Im afraid your explanation is too simplistic and borders on apologetic.

Its called predatory business practice, where you protect your own markets with extreme protectionism and other tactics, all the while exploiting the open markets abroad due to their lack of protectionism.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

SaikoPhyscoFeb. 16 07:50 am JST

All in the name of Harmony. They just don't get it. These Japanese companies "fix prices", so that they all survive. It is a humanitarian thing that they do.

Really tell that to millions of Japanese workers that haven't seen a decent pay rise or are stuck on short term contracts while "humanitarian companies" horde billions of dollars.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@jeancolmarFeb. 16 10:26 am JST

Lots of arguments off the point to somehow metaphysically exonerate the two Japanese who have been arrested for price fixing. Price fixing is a crime.

As determined by who? Price fixing is not as universal as Theft or Murder.

@Andrew CrispToday 02:46 pm JST

Really tell that to millions of Japanese workers that haven't seen a decent pay rise or are stuck on short term contracts while "humanitarian companies" horde billions of dollars.

At least the "hoarding" remains with the legal entity - Japanese bosses don't get as big a cut as a typical American CEO does.

@CruisinJapan Feb. 16 08:47 am JST

Actually, it's called cheating, and it stifles innovation. It makes products and services needlessly more expensive for everyday people when companies price fix.

Does it (at least always)? In the modern world, you need a certain amount of capital (reserve) to be able to innovate at all, because the research costs an arm and a leg. When allowing unlimited competition, the end result may well be a roll to the bottom so no one has any reserve money to innovate while putting out the shoddiest products the customer is willing to buy.

Further, the end result may well be one company, say Google for search services or Microsoft for office software utterly dominating.

And here's an irony for you to consider. If hypothetically those HDD component "competitors" were merged into ONE company (with the original companies holding suitable ratios of shares in them), there would be nothing illegal, despite the fact all the disadvantages being still there!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Hillclimber and Kazuaki,

You're making semantical arguements about my point that it's not compatible with the laws in America, hence why stating American values is necessary for me to do.

If you do business in another country and simply carbon copy your business model from your home country, you're already setting yourself up for failure. Regional laws and cultural values. These things matter, and it would be the same for American businesses abroad.

Frankly, I don't care if we're talking about hard drive components, software, or bubblegum. Your semantics detract from the central point. Price fixing is illegal. The fundamental arguement is that it stifles competition and innovation.

If excessive competition leads to a race to the bottom, that's when competitors who can't make a profit exit the market and do something else, not everyone can go home a winner forever. You can't let businesses collude to arbitrarily set supply and pricing for all industries, or McDonald's and Burger King would just start charging $10 for a burger.

Besides, it's not the only law governing competition. We have tarriffs, quotas, subsidies, anti-trust laws and other measures to protect producers and consumers from unfair business practices.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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