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The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry claims that the hardware, sold between September 2005 and December 2006, is responsible for about 60 cases of overheating, four of them resulting in minor burns, according to Reuters.
Apple on Tuesday announced on its website in Japan that it would replace the overheating devices, a step beyond the battery replacement program begun by the company in 2008. The company said defective batteries would overheat in "very rare cases."
Last week, Apple was ordered by the trade ministry in Japan to publicize that fix on its website. With this week's announcement, Apple went one step further.
However, METI also publicly stated that it felt it was "truly regrettable" that Apple waited until this week to report about 30 incidents of overheating. An Apple spokesperson said that it has worked closely with MET to make sure customers have the latest information.
The Cupertino, Calif., based company declined to reveal the number of first-generation iPod nanos it sold in Japan. It also would not comment on the dispute with the Japanese government.
A few months ago, the trade ministry had declared the first-generation iPod nano a fire hazard. Last year, similar reports of iPod batteries catching fire gained attention as well.