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Japan is on of the world’s biggest markets for mobile phones, but Nokia has announced that it plans to stop selling its handsets there.

The Finnish phone giant blamed the “current economic climate” for its decision. It's not yet clear exactly when Nokia’s plan will take effect.

"We have concluded that the continuation of our investment in Japan-specific localised products is no longer sustainable," said Timo Ihamuotil, a Nokia Executive VP.

The handset firm controls about 40 per cent of the global mobile phone sales, but took less than one per cent of Japan’s phone market in 2007. Foreign companies together only account for five per cent of mobile phones sales in Japan, according to market watcher IDC.

However, Nokia doesn’t plan to stop selling it’s pricey Vertu phones in Japan, some of which cost upwards of £20,000 ($30,000/€24,000).

Earlier this week the firm announced plans to launch itself as a virtual network carrier in Japan, with Vertu phones the only talkers exclusive enough to warrant connection.

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