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Japan Orders Apple To Investigate Flaming Laptops

The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry ordered Apple's Japan branch to look into troubles with Sony batteries, the same issue it demanded Dell to examine last week.
Following a similar order issued last week to Dell, Japanese authorities Tuesday told Apple Computer to investigate a report of a laptop catching fire and report back no later than Sept. 5 or face fines.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) ordered Apple's Japan branch to look into troubles with Sony Corp. batteries, the same issue it demanded Dell examine last week. Also on Tuesday, METI reported that an Apple portable computer burst into flames in April, slightly burning its user.

Last week, Apple told customers to return some 1.8 million Sony-made batteries included with its iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 notebook models. The call came only 10 days after Dell issued a similar, albeit much larger, recall of 4.1 million flawed batteries. In both instances, the affected batteries were lithium-ion units made by Sony Energy Devices Corp., a subsidiary of Sony Corp.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Apple has received nine reports of batteries overheating. Two involved minor burns, the CPSC said last week.

Japan's METI instructed Apple to return by Tuesday, Sept. 5 with its findings and how it will prevent future problems, or face a daily fine of up to 300,000 yen ($2,565).

In early trading, Apple shares fell $1.64, or 2.5 percent, to $65.34.