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Japan’s Car Exports Plunge 25% : Trade: A slump in foreign demand and the yen’s rise are cited. The October figure is the worst since WWII.

From Associated Press

Japan’s automobile exports plunged 25% in October, the biggest monthly decline since World War II, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Assn. said Monday.

Association official Tadashi Kotake attributed the decline to a prolonged slump in foreign demand and to the rapid appreciation this year of the yen, which makes Japanese vehicles more expensive overseas.

The previous sharpest year-to-year monthly decline was 18.1%, registered in March, 1990.

Overall vehicle exports in October totaled 350,559. Exports to the United States, the largest importer of Japan’s vehicles, fell 21% and have now dropped from last year’s levels in each of the past three months.

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Shipments to the European Community fell 42% in October, and exports to Asia were down 21% from a year earlier.

Sluggish exports and anemic domestic sales have driven Japanese car makers to slash production sharply in recent months.

Mazda Motor Corp. halted all operations for two days in November to cut production, and Nissan Motor Co. will close most plants for two days in December.

Honda Motor Co. on Monday said it has decided to supply drive shafts to rival Mitsubishi Motors Corp.--one example of efforts to maintain production levels.

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