Japan's semiconductor industry continues its consolidation. Toshiba and Fujitsu have agreed to work together on producing a sophisticated computer chip. The chips are used in digital appliances such as household electronics. The two companies hope to lower development costs amid tight competition.
Naoyuki Akikusa, Fujitsu's chief executive, says he wants to invigorate the chip-making business by using his company's know-how and intellectual capability. He adds it is necessary to find a partner to share massive development costs.
Toshiba and Fujitsu also may integrate their overall semiconductor operations at a later date. If they do, it would create the world's second largest chipmaker after Intel of the United States.
Matsushita, the world's second-largest consumer electronics maker, expects to post healthy sales in the second quarter. The company confirms domestic sales by its Panasonic brand look set to jump 30 percent from a year ago. New products such as DVD recorders and digital camcorders have helped the company's bottom line.
Like other electronics makers, Matsushita was hard hit by the worldwide information technology recession of the last year, and posted a massive loss.
Heavy overseas demand for Japanese products, including electronics, is on the rise. According to the Finance Ministry, the country's trade surplus with the world catapulted about 715 percent to $5 billion in May from a year earlier. That marks the third straight monthly rise and was much stronger than expected.
Shipments to other Asian nations of cars, flat-screen televisions and other products soared while imports plunged. The strong exports are helping the Japanese economy recover from its deepest post-war recession.