Panasonic Corp. has joined the growing group of Japanese tech giants predicting major losses and responding with major layoffs and plant closures.


Panasonic this week announced it will post a loss of (US)$4.2 billion for its 2008 fiscal year. In an attempt to cut costs, the company will close 27 manufacturing sites lay off at least 15,000 workers this year.

Like other major Japanese tech players, Panasonic blames its financial woes on a combination of factors, not the least of which include steadily weakening sales of its consumer electronics products over the past four quarters and an uncharacteristically strong Japanese currency — now at a 13-year high against the U.S. dollar — which has made their products more expensive in export markets.

Earlier this week, Hitachi Corp. confirmed a projected (US)$7.8 billion loss for its 2008 fiscal year — a record to date for a Japanese company — announced the layoff of 7,000 workers in its television and automotive businesses, and announced it would restructure its leadership team by it’s April corporate Annual Meeting.

Last month, Sony announced it would lay off 8,000 full-time workers and 8,000 contractors part and parcel of closing at least five of its 57 manufacturing plants worldwide this year. U.S. based tech giants Microsoft, Intel, ATT and IBM have also announced major layoffs since the beginning of this year.

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