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Japan's Panasonic to cut 15,000 jobs, shut plants

Panasonic Corp. said Wednesday it will slash as many as 15,000 jobs and shut 27 plants worldwide, joining a slew of major Japanese companies announcing deep cuts as the global slowdown batters the world's second-largest economy.

The world's largest maker of plasma display TVs also announced a net loss for the October-December quarter and lowered its forecast for the fiscal year through March to a net loss of 380 billion yen ($4.2 billion), its first annual loss in six years.

Panasonic blamed the dismal results on the global slowdown set off by the U.S. financial crisis, the rapid surge of the yen and sudden price drops. Sales slid in a wide range of products, including flat-panel TVs, DVD recorders, microwaves, lamps and semiconductors, it said.

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