Japan's trade ministry has warned Sony and Dell must report on their recent battery problems by the end of August or face a fine under Japan's consumer safety laws.

At least two separate instances in October and June saw Sony powered Dell laptops imported into Japan overheat and catch fire, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a statement.

Ministry official Atsuo Hirai said, although no one was hurt, fire did destroy the machines. The ministry told the companies to investigate the safety of Dell models Latitude, Inspiron and Precision imported to Japan from April 2005.

The ministry also instructed other Japanese electronic makers to check the safety of their laptop batteries.

Following this news Apple has also announced a recall of Sony-made batteries.