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Japan tells Apple to probe burning battery problem

Risk of big fires fines if it doesn't

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Japan's trade ministry has given Apple a week to explain why one of the Mac maker's notebooks allegedly burst into flames in April this year and to detail what's being done to make sure the incident isn't repeated.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry yesterday revealed one owner of an iBook G4 received minor injuries after their computer caught fire. According to a Ministry statement cited by Agence France Presse, the machine contained a Sony-made battery.

The Ministry's revelation comes a week after Apple announced it would replace 1.8m batteries shipped with a variety of its iBook and PowerBook laptop computers sold between October 2003 and August 2006.

On 14 August, Dell said it was recalling 4.1m notebook batteries after a spate of reports of laptops catching fire. At that point, only a single instance of an Apple machine going up in smoke had been reported. That incident took place in Norway.

Sony has been named as the battery supplier behind both the Apple and Dell recalls. Both Sony and Dell have also been asked to make a formal report to the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. ®

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