Like Godzilla’s occasional rampages through Tokyo, the econalypse’s effect on Japan’s consumer electronics industry has been almost casual in its devastation, with Sony (SNE), NEC and Hitachi (HIT) all announcing massive job cuts in the past few months. Today, Panasonic joined them. Hard hit by the global recession, Japan’s biggest consumer electronics company this morning warned of a $4.2 billion annual loss and said it plans to sack about 15,000 workers by March 2010. That’s about five percent of its workforce of more than 300,000 worldwide.
A nasty turn for a company that hasn’t posted a loss in six years and has long been one of the Japanese electronics industry’s strongest performers. Now, as consumer spending slumps worldwide, even Panasonic (PC) has stumbled. And according to Panasonic director, Makoto Uenoyama, it will be a while before the company regains its balance. “We expect sharper sales declines in this quarter, and profits are likely to shrink in every segment,” he said at a news conference. “We think it will take more than one year, more like two years, to work through this environment.”