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Japan's tech industry got itself deeper into the doldrums today when two of its leading companies announced losses for the half year ending September 30.

NEC reported a net loss about £170 million on sales of £14 billion. Last year this time the sales were almost identical, but it managed to push out a profit of around £117 million. Toshiba gave its loss at a rather more significant £702 million. Last year it was in the black to the tune of £307 million.

As expected, blame fell on unfavourable overseas markets and economic uncertainty, while Toshiba noted weak corporate expenditure in Japan and NEC cried about the state of DRAM.

Both companies expect to make a loss at year end, while Toshiba says it will cull 3000 people from its semiconductor unit by March 2002 (part of its previously announced 18,800 cuts to be implemented by March 2004).

Toshiba says it will also merge its LCD business with Matsushita by April, while NEC will continue with its plan to exit the fulltime DRAM business in 2004. All three companies have been moaning and wailing about memory dumping from Korean manufacturers Samsung and Hynix lately. ®

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