Ending an era, Toshiba pulls the plug on making televisions in Japan

Kyodo

Toshiba Corp. has terminated domestic production of televisions while continuing manufacturing overseas as part of its efforts to restructure its loss-making TV business, company officials said Thursday.

The producer of Regza-brand TV sets has stopped operations at its sole domestic TV manufacturing plant in Fukaya, Saitama Prefecture, the officials said.

The company incurred a loss of about ¥50 billion in the TV business in the business year that ended in March as sales were hammered by a plunge in demand in Japan after the transition to digital terrestrial broadcasting was completed last year.

The Fukaya plant, once Toshiba’s mainstay TV assembly line after starting operations in 1965, will continue to serve as a base for planning, development and after-sales service, while maintaining employment through workforce relocation, the officials said. The firm has not disclosed the number of employees at the plant.

Though the factory had been manufacturing value-added TVs with large and high-definition panels, Toshiba determined it would be difficult to continue domestic production amid severe business conditions.

Toshiba will continue manufacturing TVs at plants in Indonesia, China, Poland and Egypt, officials said.

Hitachi Ltd. has said it will end in-house production of flat-screen TVs by the end of September and outsource the task to foreign manufacturers.