The Straits Times
Published on Nov 09, 2012

No Japan electronics bailout, minister hints


TOKYO (AFP) - A senior Japanese politician hinted on Friday that a government bailout was not on the cards for the nation's struggling electronics giants, after embattled Sharp cast doubt on its own survival.

Economy minister Seiji Maehara said the likes of Panasonic and Sharp, on track to book combined annual losses of more than US$15 billion (S$18 billion), should not expect the kind of taxpayer-funded rescue handed to once-bankrupt Japan Airlines or Tepco, operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

"In this society of capitalism, I believe companies in general should rebuild themselves through their own efforts," the outspoken Mr Maehara told a press briefing in Tokyo.

US President Barack Obama came under fire in some quarters over his administration's bailout of the US auto industry but the issue is a sensitive one in Japan, where there is a general reluctance to let failing companies go under.