TOKYO (AP) _ Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. of Japan said Tuesday it will team up with Sun Microsystems Inc. to use the American firm's JAVA technology in a wide range of consumer electronics products.

JAVA, developed by Sun, is a computer programming language used widely for Internet applications. It was designed as a versatile language that software developers can use to write applications for any computer, not just the Windows system found on most PCs.

``Adaptation of JAVA technology will help Matsushita to develop and deliver a new breed of consumer appliances that allow consumers to exploit the benefits of the network,'' Kazuhiro Sugiyama, executive vice president of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., said at a new conference.

Many Japanese electronics companies are developing products that incorporate computer features, such as televisions and stereos that can exchange information with eachother.

Matsushita did not announce any specific products that will use the technology.

Kenichi Nakamura, another company official, said Matsushita will study the first products would be available by 2000 at the earliest, he said.

Jay Purie, a vice president of Sun Microsystems, said ``this is an auspicious day for Sun because we are getting endorsement for JAVA from leading consumer electronics company Matsushita.''

The companies said they will form a licensing agreements for Sun's Personal JAVA programming technology and work together to adapt JAVA to digital TV products.

They will also study ways to use JAVA in a wide-range of electrical appliances such as audio-video equipment and home appliances.

Nakamura, however, declined to discuss how much Matsushita will invest in the project.

Through a tie-up with the Japanese consumer electronics giant, Sun will try to gain ground in the home appliances area, where Microsoft Inc., a leading U.S. computer software maker, has yet to establish a foothold with its Windows CE operating system, the Nihon Keizai an economic journal, reported.