NEC is offering to replace faulty power units blamed for two NEC desktop PCs catching fire in Japan since late last year.

The first Valuestar computer caught fire in October 2005 and the second in November this year, said Akiko Shikimori, an NEC spokeswoman. The culprit is a component within the power unit inside the computer. The component and the power unit are not manufactured by NEC but the spokeswoman could not reveal which company makes them.

NEC manufactured the computers between November 2003 and June 2004 and 14,600 are in use, mainly by consumers, in Japan. The company will exchange the faulty power unit for a new one for all users of the computers, she said.

Millions of laptop computer batteries, made by Sony, have recently been recalled due to a problem that could cause fires but that issue has been confined to laptops and battery power. Sony is replacing 9.6 million laptop computer batteries in a recall expected to cost it ¥51.2bn (£220m).