Japanese commission investigates tiremakers

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The Japan Fair Trade Commission raided the headquarters of Japanese tire manufacturers yesterday as part of an investigation into possible contract fraud involving Japan's Defense Agency.

The commission reportedly believes the companies may have colluded to artificially raise tire prices through rigged bidding.

In an official statement, Bridgestone Corp. verified that the Japan Fair Trade Commission raided its Tokyo office and that the issue "is still under investigation." However, a spokesman says the company is not in a position to comment further at this time.

Both the Associated Press and Wall Street Journal verified raids at

Yokohama Rubber Co. and Toyo Tire and Rubber Co. headquarters as well. The AP reported that more than 10 tiremakers in all were raided.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. confirmed that its Goodyear Wingfoot KK subsidiary is one of the companies being investigated.

If found guilty, the companies may be fined as much as 6% of the highest bid, according to the AP.

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