NEC Corp. said yesterday it will withdraw from a Japanese government-led project to produce a next-generation supercomputer, citing falling profits amid the global economic crisis. Hitachi Ltd., who was working on NEC's contract for the project, will also have to pull out. The government-funded research institute Riken, which runs the program, said it will review the estimated ¥110-billion ($1.35-billion) project that was launched in September, 2006. Japan's project, which is now at its final stage of system design, aims to develop the world's fastest supercomputers that can operate as fast as 10 petaflops. Each petaflop is 1,000 trillion operations per second. The current record is one petaflop achieved last year by U.S. scientists, including IBM Corp. 6701 (Tokyo) fell ¥25 to ¥343.