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Fujitsu Layoffs and Toyota, Japan’s Top Money Maker - 2001-08-24


Japanese technology giant, Fujitsu, announces deep job cuts, while two of its main rivals team up in the mobile phone market.

Fujitsu has announced it is trimming more than 16,000 workers as part of a worldwide restructuring plan. The layoffs account for almost 10 percent of the firm's workforce and will apply to employees both in Japan and overseas. The company has suffered from slowing demand for semiconductors and other electronic equipment.

Yoshiharu Izumi is a technology analyst at investment bank UBS Warburg in Tokyo. He thinks that Fujitsu's move is necessary. "The decision to cut huge numbers of employees is inevitable in order to reduce fixed costs," he says. "The business is a global business, and it is affected by not only the domestic economy but also global economy, especially the U.S. economy."

Meanwhile, two other Japanese electronics giants will join forces in order to boost profits in the global cellular phone sector. NEC and Matsushita have announced that they will jointly work on developing so-called third generation mobile phones.

On these new handsets, users will be able to watch video and transmit data at lightening fast speeds. NEC will apply its know how in software while Matsushita will share its expertise in video technology. Within Japan, they are expected to command almost half the market for mobile phones.

Japanese giant Sony is launching a product that will transmit e-mail, video and still photos without a computer. Sony says that in October it will release the world's first digital video camera with the ability to use a new wireless technology system called Bluetooth. Sony says its Network Handycam will also be the world's smallest and lightest digital video camera. It will first be sold in Japan and Europe, retailing for about $1,300.

For the second year in a row, Toyota is Japan's most profitable company. That is according to a survey recently issued by research group Teikoku Databank. Toyota's income rose by more than 40 percent from last year, thanks to robust global sales of new models as well as cost cutting.

Tokyo Electric Power came in second in the earnings survey, up from fourth place last year. The company's income has soared in recent months as customers have used more air conditioning to combat a summer heat wave.