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Panasonic, Sharp may temporarily halt shipments to Huawei

This undated file photo shows Panasonic Corp.'s headquarters in Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture. (Kyodo)

TOKYO/OSAKA (Kyodo) -- More companies may be temporarily halting business with Huawei Technologies Co., with Panasonic Corp. and Sharp Corp. possibly stepping away after the U.S. last week blacklisted the Chinese telecom giant.

The two electronics makers said Thursday they may stop supplying some of their components to Huawei, after examining whether the products contain materials and technology banned under U.S. restrictions aimed at the Chinese company.

Toshiba Corp. temporarily stopped providing parts the same day, but it resumed supplies later in the day after confirming its products do not run afoul of the technology ban.

SoftBank Group Corp. affiliate Arm Holdings plc., a semiconductor designer based in Britain, has also told its employees to suspend business with Huawei to comply with the U.S. trade clampdown, according to the BBC.

Major Japanese mobile carriers including KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Corp. said Wednesday they will postpone sales of new Huawei smartphones, saying that it is unclear whether Google LLC will continue providing services, including its Android operating system, to the Chinese smartphone maker.

Kansai Electric Power Co.'s telecom unit Optage Inc. said it will delay sales of new Huawei handsets.

The U.S. government decided last week to effectively ban American companies from supplying parts to Huawei citing national security concerns and put it on a list of companies that U.S. firms cannot trade with without a license.

Even when produced outside the United States, some Japanese components that incorporate U.S.-made materials and technology -- and are then shipped to Huawei -- can infringe the ban.

Fallout from the sanctions may spread to other Japanese manufacturers whose parts are used to assemble Huawei smartphones.

Last year, Huawei procured parts worth more than $6.6 billion from Japanese companies, according to Huawei.

The U.S. technology ban could "have a huge impact on the supply chain and capital investment in 5G mobile communications," said Yukio Iimura, chairman of the Japan Machine Tool Builders' Association, at a regular press conference.

Huawei has been a leader in 5G wireless network technology that enables the transmission of large amounts of data at extremely high speeds.

Electronic parts makers Kyocera Corp. and Murata Manufacturing Co. have said they are paying close attention to developments.

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