• Kyodo

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Domestic shipments of home appliances in April rose 19.7 percent from a year earlier to ¥175.3 billion, increasing for the first time in two months, an industry body said Wednesday.

The rise in demand was attributed to consumers replacing their home appliances with energy-saving products to brace for possible electricity shortages in the summer amid the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, according to the Japan Electrical Manufacturers Association.

By product, shipments of air conditioners soared 59.6 percent to ¥45.6 billion, while those of refrigerators rose 8.5 percent to ¥31.7 billion, and those of washing machines rose 13.4 percent to ¥25.9 billion.

Shipments of electric fans, which use less electricity than air conditioners, more than doubled to ¥2.2 billion.

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