OSAKA (Kyodo) Panasonic Corp. has jacked up production capacity for plasma TV panels to a record high as domestic demand for flat TVs recovers, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.

Panasonic increased monthly output capacity at its two factories in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, to the equivalent of 940,000 42-inch panels, up from 785,000 panels, by streamlining and improving productivity at its lines, they said.

Earlier, Panasonic postponed the launch, originally set for May, of a third plasma TV panel factory it was building in Amagasaki by six months as demand for plasma TVs fell sharply amid the global economic slump.

But the drop in demand also led producers to cut prices, which subsequently stimulated demand, the sources said.

Panasonic raised output after sales of its Viera line started picking up, they said.

The government’s “eco-point” benefit system for buying environment-friendly appliances is set to begin May 15 and will likely have a positive effect on flat TV sales, the sources added.

The system is part of the Green New Deal policy aimed at expanding Japan’s environment-linked market and creating replacement demand.

Consumers will be able to receive a refund equivalent to 5 percent of the price of energy-saving appliances in the form of points from public funds. The points cannot be cashed in and can only be used to purchase other products.

When the third factory in Amagasaki is launched next January, Panasonic will further increase plasma panel output capacity by 120,000 42-inch panels a month, the sources said.

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