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Sharp Reportedly Cuts 3,000 Foreign Staff, Shifting Work To China

Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp. (SHCAY.PK) has laid off more than 3,000 foreign workers in Japan as the company moves production of iPhone sensors to a Chinese plant owned by parent Foxconn, Nikkei Asian Review reported.

The deep job cuts come as Japan debates whether to bring in more foreign workers amid a national labor shortage, and they illustrate how such employment is often at the mercy of manufacturers' production cycles.

Sharp's Kameyama plant in western Japan won a contract to assemble sensor components for facial recognition features on the iPhone X, which went on sale in November 2017. The Osaka-based company ramped up hiring of foreign workers, many of Japanese descent, that summer before starting production, only to reverse course this year.

The report said that sharp hired more temporary employees to increase output. The number of temporary foreign workers at Kameyama peaked at roughly 4,000 in late 2017. This year, however, Foxconn decided to move sensor production to a group factory in China.

The layoffs at Kameyama followed. Though the factory continues to produce parts for smartphone cameras -- in addition to liquid crystal display panels, whose sales are brisk -- the number of foreign workers on the payroll appears to have fallen to only 500 to 600 as of the summer.

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