PlayStation2 export regs eased

News helps Sony close up 2.82%

TOKYO — After rattling Sony stockholders Monday when it declared that the company’s PlayStation2 has been hit with export restriction because it could be used for military purposes, Japan’s Ministry of Intl. Trade and Industry said Tuesday that it will ease trade controls for the game console.

Decision should clear the way for Sony to ship the games to the U.S. and Europe later this year, but Sony will probably not be allowed to export PS2 consoles to restricted states such as North Korea.

The news helped buoy Sony shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange as they closed up 2.82% to 12,380 yen ($118.23) on Tuesday after falling about 9% on Monday.

Trade officials said they initially placed restrictions on the game console because PlayStation2’s high-speed graphic processing could be used for missile guidance.

A Sony Computer Entertainment spokesman said Monday that the parent company has been aware of the restrictions since the product’s launch and it did not think that it would face restrictions in making exports to the key markets of the U.S. and Europe.

About 1.4 million units of the console have been sold in Japan since its launch March 4, and Sony Computer Entertainment expects to ship 4 million units in Japan and 3 million units each in the U.S. and Europe by March 31, 2001.

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