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Japan Display chief to step down in September

Ailing LCD maker to seek voluntary retirements from 30% of its employees

LCD panel maker Japan Display has struggled to turn a profit, in part due to sluggish sales of Apple's iPhone. (Photo by Karina Noka)

TOKYO -- Japan Display President Yoshiyuki Tsukizaki will step down in late September to take responsibility for the company's poor performance, the liquid-crystal display maker said Wednesday.

Tsukizaki will be replaced by Minoru Kikuoka, the company's managing executive officer and chief financial officer.

Japan Display also announced that it will shutter its Hakusan plant in Ishikawa Prefecture in July. LCD panel production will be consolidated at the Mobara plant in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, and elsewhere for the time being as demand for smartphone LCDs declines.

Tsukizaki, who hails from Japanese electronics maker Hitachi, was named president of Japan Display last June after running Hitachi's automotive business. He was expected lead the company to profitability by fiscal 2018, which ended in March this year, but falling orders for LCDs for Apple iPhones and other problems kept him from reaching that target.

Hakusan plant began commercial production of LCD panels for the iPhone at the end of 2016, but down time at the plant has been rising due to sluggish sales. Japan Display also announced it will halt some post-processing operations at its Mobara plant.

The company hopes to entice 1,200 employees -- nearly 30% of its workforce -- to take early retirement by the end of September. It will also transfer some employees to affiliates. It says these measures will save the company 20 billion yen ($184.4 million) a year.

Japan Display had said at its earnings briefing on May 15 that it would announce 1,000 or so job cuts and other cost-saving measures by June. The company hopes to cut fixed costs by eliminating more jobs and suspending plants before seeking financial support of up to 80 billion yen from a consortium of Taiwanese and Chinese investors.

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