Japan's Industrial Production Drops By 9 Percent

Japan's economics minister says he's never seen such a steep fall in production. The government released data Friday showing industrial production plunged nearly 10 percent in December, a record drop. Japanese companies are being ravaged by the global recession as consumers stop buying their exports, including cars, electronics and industrial machinery.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

NPR's business news starts with Japan's sinking economy.

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MONTAGNE: Japan's economy minister says he's never seen such a steep fall in production. His government today released numbers about that economy, still the world's second largest. It shows that industrial production plunged nearly 10 percent last month, a record fall. Japan's companies are being ravaged by the global recession, as consumers stop buying its exports. That includes cars, electronics and industrial machinery. Corporations have already trimmed back on temporary staff. There's fear they may start cutting full-timers.

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