Business 57 – Rakuten puts free delivery plan on hold after backlash from retailers

  • 投稿カテゴリー:Business

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Rakuten nabs soccer star Iniesta as it seeks to expand overseas ...


1. Online retailer Rakuten Inc. said Friday it has decided to effectively postpone its plan to offer free shipping from March 18 following a backlash from retailers, who would shoulder the cost.

2.  The e-commerce giant said its plan to ship all orders over ¥3,980 ($38) free of charge, excluding some areas, will begin only with retailers who are willing to shoulder the shipping cost as initially planned.

3.  Rakuten also said it plans to provide financial support for retailers offering free shipping if their sales or profits decline. The decision comes after the Fair Trade Commission last week asked the Tokyo District Court for a rare injunction on Rakuten’s plan after investigating the company for potential violations of the antimonopoly law.

4. The antitrust watchdog opened its investigation in January, looking into whether the company was abusing its dominant position over smaller merchants who depend on its platform.

5. The watchdog, which last made that kind of a request in 2004, has been stepping up scrutiny of Rakuten and other tech giants, including Google LLC, Inc., Apple Inc., and Facebook Inc., collectively dubbed GAFA, to determine whether they are abusing their market positions.

6. Some retailers objected to Rakuten’s new policy, and others willing to introduce free shipping asked it to delay the service because some tenants are having difficulty securing workers and goods due to the coronavirus outbreak.

7. The company has said the free shipping policy will contribute to higher sales for online merchants. A group of around 450 merchants submitted a petition to the FTC claiming that Rakuten is using its dominant position to force them to cover the cost of shipping.

8. The move is a big blow to Rakuten President Hiroshi Mikitani, who had said at a news conference last month that the company would go ahead with the plan regardless of the FTC’s probe.

9. He had insisted the new policy is essential for Rakuten and retailers on its marketplace to survive intensifying competition with rivals such as

1. Have you ever bought anything from Rakuten?What do you think about their services compared to Amazon?

2. If there is free shipping for the goods, who do you think should pay for the shipping, the retailer or Rakuten?

3. Do you think its right for large companies to have a monopoly over an industry. ?



  1. Postpone = cause or arrange for (something) to take place at a time later than that first scheduled.
  2. backlash = a strong negative reaction by a large number of people, especially to a social or political development
  3. shoulder = put (something heavy) over one’s shoulder or shoulders to carry.
  4. injunction = an authoritative warning or order.
  5. anti-monopoly = opposing, prohibiting, or restricting monopolies
  6. antitrust = relating to, or being legislation against or opposition to trusts or combination
  7. abusing =use (something) to bad effect or for a bad purpose; misuse.
  8. scrutiny = critical observation or examination.
  9. dubbed = provide (a film) with a soundtrack in a different language from the original.
  10. objected = say something to express one’s opposition to or disagreement with something.
  11. petition = a formal written request, typically one signed by many people, appealing to authority in respect of a particular cause.
  12. probe = to search into and explore very thoroughly : subject to a penetrating investigation
  13. intensifying = to become intense or more intensive : grow stronger or more acute