Sony will delay the release of its full-year earnings by about three weeks due to stricter US accounting rules, the company said Wednesday.

Sony had been due to release its earnings for the fourth quarter and full year, from April 2006 to March 2007, at the end of April but has decided to push this back to May 16.

It blamed the delay on the tougher rules that have come into effect under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which also applies to foreign companies such as Sony that are listed in the US The law, which came into force in 2002, introduced strict financial reporting and corporate governance requirements. A larger amount of paperwork is required to comply with the act's provisions, and that's taking time, Sony said.

Until several years ago, most Japanese IT companies announced their full year earnings in mid-May. In recent years the Tokyo Stock Exchange has been trying to persuade companies to finalize their accounts within a month and announce their results in late April, just ahead of the week-long "golden week" holiday in Japan.

Hitachi said in February that it would also delay the release of full-year earnings until May.