Hitachi Electronics Co Ltd has announced the closure of one of its three Japanese wafer manufacturing plants. The Ibaraki Semicon Material plant, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi Electronics, will halt production of epitaxial wafers on October 20 1998 and the plant’s employees, of which there are approximately 150, will be reassigned to other departments or to one of the other plants. This is latest in a series of closures announced in the past few weeks by the troubled electronics giant which has been hit hard by the region’s economic decline (CI No 3,489). The company blamed this latest closure on the continuing slump in the semiconductor market and a lower than expected demand for wafers. It plans to discontinue all future production of 6 inch wafers in favour of 8 inch wafers, which is in line with industry trends, and supply all demand from its remaining two plants.