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Olympus exit foreshadows a Japan camera sector shake-up

Smartphones, overzealous competition and coronavirus undercut proud industry

An Olympus camera on display in a store in 2009. Some enthusiasts were so taken by how Olympus cameras reproduce blues, they came up with the expression "Olympus blue."

TOKYO -- Olympus Corp.'s announcement on June 24 that it plans to spin off its imaging unit, which makes digital and video cameras, and sell it to a private equity firm foreshadows a raft of similar moves ahead.

Japan's digital camera industry was once considered on par with the country's auto sector in terms of international competitiveness. But smartphones have driven camera makers to the brink of extinction, and this year the novel coronavirus slammed the already hobbled industry.

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