• Kyodo

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Struggling Sharp Corp.’s restructuring efforts are dealing blows to its thousands of business partners across Japan, with some forced to lay off workers after seeing orders drop.

The Osaka-based home electronics maker and its group companies do business with around 5,700 companies, with the biggest number, some 1,400, concentrated in Tokyo, according to Teikoku Databank Ltd. They range from manufacturing and wholesale firms to trucking and real estate companies.

Takaya Corp., a maker of electronics devices in Okayama Prefecture, has been forced to cut 180 jobs, or about a quarter of its payroll, by offering retirement incentives. A drop in business mainly from the Sharp group was cited as the reason.

A total of 176 employees left the firm Saturday after applying for the incentive packages. “It was an unavoidable course of action because the overall situation surrounding electronics makers is terrible,” a senior official said.

The situation is also grim at a chemical company delivering parts to Sharp’s TV assembly factory in Yaita, Tochigi Prefecture.

“We are totally dependent on Sharp,” said an employee. “Orders plunged and sales fell.”

An official at Vitec Co., a Tokyo-based trading house dealing in electronics components, said that “business has been slowing in the past few months compared with the previous year” owing to sluggish sales of TV sets, Sharp’s mainstay product.

As part of restructuring efforts, Sharp is planning to cut production at the Tochigi plant and at a plant in Katsuragi, Nara Prefecture, that builds solar battery cells, moves that could further impact its subcontractors.

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