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Japanese Electronics Giants Post Losses; GM Builds Cars in Japan - 2001-10-26

Two Japanese electronics companies report half-year losses and the world's largest carmaker hopes to gain a foothold in Japan.

Japanese electronics firm Fujitsu says it will cut more jobs as it slides into the red, losing money.

The company posted a net loss of nearly $1.5 billion for the first six months of the year ending in September. That contrasts with a $140 million profit in the same period last year. Fujitsu will slash an additional 46,000, bringing total job cuts since August to 21,000.

Takashi Takaya is executive vice president of Fujitsu. He said the terrorist incidents in the United States could lead to weaker demand during the coming holiday shopping season.

He said he believes that a market recovery in the next business year will be difficult.

Another Japanese electronics giant, Sony, is also suffering. Sony reported a loss of more than $350 million for the first half of the year, blaming low demand and a slump in the tech industry. Analysts forecast that Sony's losses will deepen in the second half of the fiscal year as the global economy continues to cool.

For the first time Since World War Two, General Motors of the United States is building cars in Japan. In cooperation with Suzuki Motors, it has developed a compact car called the Chevrolet Cruze which is manufactured at a plant west of Tokyo.

GM's attempts to export cars to Japan have so far been unsuccessful because the cars were seen as too big and often lacked the right-hand drive that is standard in Japan. Jack Smith, chairman of General Motors, said "we ought to focus on building cars in regions outside of the United States that meet the desires of customers."

The two companies are hoping to sell 20,000 units of the Cruze car in Japan within one year.