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Steelmakers produced 102.065 million tons of crude steel in the 2001 business year, down 4.5 percent from a year earlier, the Japan Iron and Steel Federation said Wednesday.

Despite the decrease, Japan’s crude steel production stayed above 100 million tons for the second consecutive year.

Major steelmakers, including Nippon Steel Corp. and NKK Corp., carried out year-on-year production cuts of 8 percent to 12 percent in the second half of 2001 in response to steep falls in steel product prices.

In March, steelmakers turned out 8.707 million tons of crude steel, down 2.4 percent, and the 12th consecutive year-on-year fall, the federation said.

For the current year, the industry association forecasts a further drop in crude steel production to 95 million tons as steelmakers are set to curb output in a bid to prop up prices.

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