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Bank of Japan Gov. Toshihiko Fukui on Tuesday voiced delight at having to wait two weeks to get his hands on the latest cell phone model.

“Demand was that strong,” Fukui told a regular news conference. “If companies work hard to provide new services and demand-generating products, customer demand will follow.”

A self-proclaimed aficionado of the latest cell phone products, Fukui later confided to The Japan Times that he had bought a NTT DoCoMo 505i phone, which features a digital camera, speedy access to traffic news and an option that allows users to program their video recorders to record television shows.

Fukui noted that the economy is departing from the model internalized over a 50-year period since the end of World War II.

It is becoming necessary for companies and banks to foster added value to raise profits, while market forces are increasingly being called upon to help determine interest rates to secure funding, he said.

But the Cabinet Office’s announcement that real gross domestic product logged 0.6 percent growth in the April-June quarter will not affect the central bank’s assessment that the economy is currently staying put.

“The past legacy of debt and excessive investments still weighs heavily on the Japanese economy,” Fukui said. “The economy will not shift into high-gear that quickly.”

More phones shipped

Kyodo News Domestic shipments of mobile phone handsets, including personal handy-phone system equipment, rose 19.4 percent in June from a year earlier to 4.878 million units, marking the eighth straight monthly gain, an industry association said Tuesday.

June was the fourth straight month in which such shipments topped 4 million units, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association said.

Shipments of mobile phones excluding PHS handsets increased 19.6 percent to 4.744 million units, extending the rising streak to nine months, thanks to growth in demand for third-generation cell phones as well as a rise in shipments of units equipped with camera functions, the association said.

Shipments of PHS handsets alone rose 12.8 percent to 134,000 units, marking the fourth consecutive monthly gain and reflecting strong demand for handsets designed for data transmission, it said.

In the April-June period, overall shipments of mobile phone handsets rose 27 percent from the same period a year earlier to 13.203 million units.

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