Until now, it had been thought that the consumer technology powerhouse of Japan had escaped the worst of the global recession, but a series of convulsions over the weekend clearly show that is not the case.

After poor financial results last week, the entire electronics sector plunged into depression as Nintendo, Sony, Toshiba and NEC all saw their shares crash.

Nintendo not immune

The collapse in consumer spending that precipitated the financial gloom has been far quicker and more catastrophic than industry observers expected. Even the poster-child Nintendo saw over 12 per cent wiped off its market value on Friday.

Japanese tech giants have been swift to react, with job losses already in the tens of thousands.

Hitachi says it may cut loose around 7,000 staff at its vehicle and TV divisions, while Toshiba could drop up to 5,000 part-timers.

Huge cuts

Worst of all among the hard-hit high-tech firms, NEC says it is planning to eliminate more than 20,000 jobs within the financial year.

The cut represents almost 7 per cent of its workforce, underlining the gloomy fact that no one's job is safe, even at the cutting-edge of the technology industry.