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Japan’s anti-monopoly body orders Google to lift Yahoo ad search limits

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s antitrust watchdog said Monday that U.S. search giant Google must lift ad search restrictions hitting Yahoo in Japan.

The Japan Fair Trade Commission said in a statement that its recent investigation into Google’s practices showed it undermined fair competition in the advertising market.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Yahoo has merged with Japanese social media platform Line, and Line Yahoo declined comment.

Google’s alleged questionable practices started about ten years ago and lasted more than seven years, according to the committee.

Google will be assessed over the next three years to ensure it makes the necessary changes, the committee said. There will be no immediate fine or other sanctions for Google, which remains popular among the Japanese.

The committee’s move follows a new setback for Google in Japan. Last week, Japanese doctors filed a civil lawsuit against the company, seeking damages for what they say are unfounded derogatory and often false comments.

The Tokyo District Court lawsuit seeks damages of 1.4 million yen ($9,400) for 63 medical professionals for reviews posted on Google Maps.

Google said in response that it is working “24 hours a day” to reduce misleading or false information on its platform, combining human and technological resources “to remove fraudulent reviews.”