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Major consumer electronics makers plan to cut production of four kinds of electric appliances in the April-June period to counter an expected fall in sales following the April 1 introduction of a new recycling law that temporarily pushed up demand.

Hitachi Ltd. said last week it will slash production of television sets, washing machines, refrigerators and air conditioners — the four items covered under the Electric Appliance Recycling Law — by an average of 5 percent in the April-June term from a year earlier.

Toshiba Corp. will reduce production of those appliances, except TVs, by 15 percent year-on-year in April and by 10 percent in May and June.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. will adjust production according to demand, while Victor Co. of Japan Ltd. will reduce production of TVs for the domestic market by about 10 percent.

The new recycling law calls for manufacturers, retailers and consumers to share responsibility for the disposal of the four types of electric appliances. It requires consumers to pay a 2,400 yen to 4,600 yen recycling charge per unit as well as some transport fees.

To beat the increased costs, many consumers rushed to replace their old appliances before April 1, when the law took effect.

According to Hitachi, sales of refrigerators in March surged 2.5 times from a year earlier, while those of washing machines and air conditioners shot up twofold and those of color TVs 55 percent.

As a result, sales of the four electric appliances are expected to plunge in April and thereafter.

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