Japanese Tech Giants Announce 27,000 Job Cuts

NEC Corp. said it was slashing 20,000 jobs while Hitachi Ltd. is cutting 7,000

NEC and Hitachi said on Jan. 30 they were cutting up to 27,000 jobs as Japan Inc. buckles under the strain of the global economic crisis.

NEC Corp. said it was slashing 20,000 jobs worldwide by March 2010 -- half of them regular workers -- as it sinks deeper into the red. About 40% will be in Japan and the rest overseas, NEC president Kaoru Yano said.

Hitachi Ltd. said it would shed up to 7,000 jobs as it forecast a net loss of 700 billion yen (US$7.8 billion) in the current financial year to March. It will try to move full-time workers around within the company to minimise job losses, company president Kazuo Furukawa said.

NEC announced the job losses after saying it expects a net loss of 290 billion yen (US$3.2 billion) in the year to March as recessions in major economies from Japan to Europe and the U.S. hammer demand.

Computer maker Fujitsu Ltd. said its net losses ballooned to 36.1 billion yen (US$403 million) in the nine months to December, and forecast it would end the year to March in the red. "I have absolutely no confidence in the fiscal year 2009," Fujitsu chief financial officer Kazuhiko Kato told reporters. "I have no clue what the outlook will be."

Japan is in the midst of its first recession in seven years as the global slowdown saps demand overseas for cars, computers, cameras and other key exports. A slew of gloomy economic data released on Jan. 30 suggested the recession is deepening, with factory output falling a record 9.6% in December.

Japanese companies have also been hit hard by a strong yen, which recently soared to a 13-year high against the dollar.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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