Jul 13
Japan

In Japan, Idled Electronics Factories Find New Life in Farming (Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2014):

Struggling to Compete with Rivals in South Korea or China, Fujitsu, Toshiba and Others Try Selling Vegetables, Too

AIZU-WAKAMATSU, Japan—Haruyasu Miyabe used to oversee a computer-chip production line at a Fujitsu Ltd. 6702.TO -0.52% plant here. One day last year, the plant manager told Mr. Miyabe to prepare for a career change.

“Starting tomorrow, you are going to make lettuce,” he recalls being told.

Amid troubled times in the Japanese electronics industry, Fujitsu shut one of the three chip-making lines at the plant in 2009. Now, in a sterile, dust-free clean room that once built the brains of high-tech gadgets, Mr. Miyabe and a staff of about 30 tend heads of lettuce. Continue reading »

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Feb 14

Its electronic gadgetry is gathering dust on the shelves of high street stores, nobody is buying new fridges and the mountain of unsold plasma televisions is growing by the day.

However, in desperation, Panasonic has hit on the perfect counter-attack against the consumer slump: it has ordered every member of staff to go out and buy £1,000 of Panasonic products.

Large swathes of corporate Japan are expected to follow suit, either by directly commanding or indirectly “pressuring” employees to divert part of their salaries towards the goods that their employers produce.

Toyota has already tacitly applauded a “voluntary” scheme in which 2,200 of its top brass decided to buy new Toyota cars, and the president of Fujitsu recently e-mailed 100,000 staff and gently pointed out how nice it would be if “employee ownership rates” of Fujitsu PCs and mobile phones were a little higher.

The 10,000 Japanese staff affected by Panasonic’s unorthodox strategy do not have long to consider their purchases.

Management insists that staff buy their Panasonic goods – whether they need them or not – by the end of July.

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Oct 29


A man looks at laptop computers at an electronics retailer in Tokyo October 29, 2008

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Toshiba Corp (6502.T) posted a 99 percent plunge in quarterly operating profit on Wednesday, dragged down by weakness in its mainstay chip operations, but stuck to its recently revised outlook above expectations.

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