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Giant Japanese conglomerate Hitachi announced that it had made a loss of ¥375 billion, blaming the state of the economy and currency fluctuations for the shortfall. Two days ago, Toshiba said it was going to ship two thirds of its DRAM production offshore in a bid to cut costs. Hitachi's losses are likely to have ramifications for workers in the UK and in other sites in Singapore and Malaysia. Last year, Hitachi made a profit of ¥171 billion, but warned late last year that it was not confident about future profits. Japanese companies have been reluctant to lay off their own staff, but last year there were clear signs that they were beginning to bite the bullet on redundancies. ®

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