• Kyodo News

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Cell phone shipments in fiscal 2008 dived 30.1 percent from the previous year to 34.64 million units amid the economic downturn, the sharpest drop on record and the first fall in four years, an industry body said Wednesday.

The percentage of the fall was the sharpest since the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association started compiling relevant data in fiscal 1992.

The association blamed the plunge on cell phone users keeping their old handsets longer before replacing them with new models against the backdrop of faltering personal consumption.

“We fear that the cell phone market will go on shrinking in fiscal 2009,” an association official said.

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