On Thursday, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reported the first flaming Apple laptop in Japan -- and has thusly begun its official smackdown on Apple. The Associated Press is reporting that Japan's trade ministry has ordered Apple's Japan branch to figure out what the hell is going on with those batteries of theirs by September 5th, or the company could face a fine of up to ¥300,000 ($2,570) under local consumer safety laws -- a make-or-break amount of cash for small-time upstart Apple (unless they're referring to ¥300,000 per day per Apple laptop sold in Japan, which would be, uh, bad). It's still a mystery to us why the trade ministry is going after Apple and Dell directly though, instead of focusing its efforts squarely on the source. Sony and Dell have, of course, been previously dinged in Japan due to Sony's little error (which, as you might recall, affects a combined total of nearly six million batteries worldwide, and don't forget those exploding Vaio batteries, either), so remember Apple, you wouldn't like the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry when it's angry.

[Thanks, zo]

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Apple in trouble with Japan over Sony's exploding batteries