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Domestic shipments of home-use air conditioners in the year through September are expected to fall about 10 percent from a year earlier to less than 7 million units for the first time in three years, industry officials said Tuesday.

Mild weather in June and sluggish personal consumption are to blame for the expected fall.

Sales of air conditioners are considered brisk when annual shipments reach 7 million units.

According to the Japan Refrigeration and Airconditioning Industry Association, domestic shipments of home-use air conditioners suffered year-on-year falls of between 1 percent and 9.4 percent in the eight months from last October through May this year. In June, shipments are estimated to have decreased 8 percent from a year earlier.

The association projects shipments for the current business year at 6.9 million units.

In the previous year, which ended in September 2001, shipments totaled 7.67 million units, the third largest on record. Attributing the brisk shipments to last summer’s hot weather — which created demand for an additional 700,000 units — an official at a major manufacturer said shipments in the current business year are likely to decline by a similar 700,000 units.

Although temperatures began soaring at the end of last week, manufacturers said the delay in shipments in June is unlikely to be covered.

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