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Saturday, 25 August, 2001, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
Toshiba 'to axe 20,000 jobs'
Toshiba computer
The worldwide IT slump has hit Toshiba
Toshiba Corp, Japan's top manufacturer of electronic chips, is planning to cut 20,000 jobs worldwide, according to Japanese media reports.

Toshiba's move, which is expected to be announced next week, comes amid a global slump in demand for technology which is hitting Japan's hi-tech firms.

On 20 August, the chip and PC giant Fujitsu unveiled a restructuring plan which will see 16,400 jobs go, NEC Corp has announced 4,000 redundancies, and there are also reports that Hitachi is ready to lay off thousands of workers.

It looks as though there will be more bad news for the Japanese economy when the official unemployment figure, due to be announced on Tuesday, is expected to show an all-time high.

Home and abroad

Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper said Toshiba's redundancies will affect employees in the group's home appliances and heavy electricals divisions as well as those in semiconductor-related operations.

The newspaper said Toshiba would lay off workers overseas, but would likely try to soften the blow at home through voluntary redundancies and transfers to other companies.

However, national broadcaster NHK said about 14,000 of the jobs to go would be in Japan - about 10% of the company's domestic workforce.

There has been no official comment from Toshiba. But spokesman Hideyuki Miyazaki said the company would announce "fairly big" job losses amid falling worldwide demand for semiconductors and other information technology equipment.

Technology slump

"We need to create a structure that can withstand steep downturns like this one," the Associated Press news agency quoted him as saying.

The slowdown in the global economy has led to sagging demand for products such as mobile phones, computers and other information technology goods.

And that has meant a severe slump in the global semiconductor industry.

Toshiba had been widely expected to announce a restructuring plan following similar moves by rivals NEC Corp and Fujitsu Ltd.

See also:

20 Aug 01 | Business
Fujitsu to cut 16,400 jobs
27 Jul 01 | Business
Fujitsu and NEC profits slide
27 Jul 01 | Scotland
NEC confirms job cuts
26 Jul 01 | Business
Job cuts top 50,000
20 Feb 01 | Business
Tech slump spreads to Japan
11 Jul 01 | Business
Japan's economy falters
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