In their view ...


It is extremely rare for the top executive of a large, well-known company to publicly admit his organization is a loser.

Panasonic Corp. has said it will likely report a gargantuan loss of more than $9.3 billion for the second year in a row.

In a recent news conference, Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga said his company is not operating in "normal" conditions.

"We need to start by recognizing this," he said.

Sharp Corp., another troubled Japanese electronics maker, has sharply raised its projected annual loss for the year through March 2013 to 450 billion yen. Sony Corp. is also struggling to bring its core consumer electronics business back into the black.

The bottom lines of all these once-powerful electronics manufacturers have been battered by sluggish sales of their flat-panel TVs, once their core source of business and profits.

They had also expected to carve out profitable futures by manufacturing lithium-ion batteries and solar panels, but these operations are facing rough going, too.

The companies face a formidable challenge in trying to turn their money-losing operations around. ...

Clearly, Japanese makers need to reassess their technologies and markets from a global perspective. They also need to be more willing to buy technologies from anywhere in the world and step up efforts to sell their own technologies. ...

The very fact that the earnings results of companies like Panasonic and Sony still attract much media and public attention is, in a sense, clear evidence of the difficulty of nurturing new businesses in this country. ...

The Asahi Shimbun

Tokyo, Japan

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