Sharp Fined For Price Fixing

Japan's fair trade watchdog on Thursday slapped Sharp with a $3 million fine for fixing prices of liquid crystal display panels used for Nintendo's popular DS portable game machines.

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's fair trade watchdog on Thursday slapped Sharp Corp. with a 261 million yen ($3 million) fine for fixing prices of liquid crystal display panels used for Nintendo's popular DS portable game machines.

The Fair Trade Commission said Sharp and Hitachi Display Ltd., a unit of Hitachi Ltd., had violated the Anti-monopoly law by controlling prices. A commission official said the investigation began in December 2006. He declined to say why Hitachi Display got no penalty.

The two companies "exchanged information about display prices and agreed on the need to prevent a decrease in prices," said the commission in a statement.

But Sharp hit back at the commission's order.

Sharp "did not engage in any activities that could be categorized as a violation of Anti-monopoly Act. Therefore, we are considering future responses including a hearing request," the company said in a statement.

The Japanese electronics maker also said other panel makers were competing in the market, arguing that Sharp and Hitachi Display alone "could not have controlled the prices."

A spokesman for Nintendo declined to comment on the penalty order.

Sharp was ordered by the U.S. Justice Department in November to pay $120 million in fines for fixing prices of liquid crystal display panels used for Apple and Dell computer products. Sharp said the company had agreed to pay the penalty in the U.S.

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