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Japan warns of iPod nano fire risk

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 19, 2008
Japan on Tuesday warned users of Apple iPod nanos of a potential fire risk after two new instances in which the popular portable music players overheated.

The economy, trade and industry ministry has received two new reports of minor fires in August in Tokyo caused by overheating iPod nanos, said ministry official Hiroyuki Yoshitsune.

There were no injuries and the cause is still unclear, he said.

Japan had already launched an investigation in March after another Apple iPod nano sent out sparks.

According to the ministry, Apple Computer has been notified of a total of 14 similar cases in Japan. Out of those, two users suffered minor burning.

The ministry said the incidents were caused by four models -- MA004J/A, MA005J/A, MA099J/A and MA107J/A -- of which 1.81 million units were sold between September 2005 and September 2006 in Japan.

"Users need to be careful about overheating of the machines," the ministry said in a statement, warning that particular care is needed when recharging the iPods.

"Our ministry told Apple to improve its technological development and probe the cause of the incidents so that similar incidents do not happen again," the official said.

There was no immediate comment from Apple. Public broadcaster NHK said the company has no plan to recall any iPods but is ready to exchange defective parts.

The US computer giant has already warned that iPod, iPod nano or iPod shuffle may generate excess heat while being charged in certain carry cases.

Lithium ion batteries, which Apple uses for iPods, are common in consumer electronics, such as mobile telephones and personal computers.

However, major battery makers, including electronics giant Sony Corp., have occasionally been forced to recall their lithium ion battery packs after reports of overheating and fire.

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