Manufacturing and Machinery Industry in Japan

Japan is considered to be one of the global leaders in the manufacturing machinery and automobile industries. The materials and manufacturing industry of Japan include the four different areas of machinery, oil and gas, forest products, & metals and mining.  

In 2015, the Japanese manufacturing industry accounted for about 19% of nation’s GDP. The country’s main export components include the following:

  • Computers
  • Machinery
  • Automobiles
  • Consumer electronics

Machinery as the Largest Industry Segment

Japan is a major supplier for a variety of machine products and components. Japanese machinery is considered to be of world class quality owing to its innovativeness and precision. This has resulted in a highly competitive and exciting market that has produced some well-known industry giants. It is the country’s technological prowess that gives it some of the most efficient and effective industrial framework coupled with excellent manufacturing capacities.

Among all the areas of expertise within this genre, Japan’s primary industries are steel production, chemicals, electronics and ship manufacturing.

Based on data from the Japan Ministry of Economy, the following categories exhibited growth from 2012-2014: power units, metal cutting machinery, industrial machinery and rolling machinery (see figure below). Under the industrial machinery segment, the following showed significant growth: construction machinery, industrial robots and chemical machinery. With continuous development and growth, the machinery segments in Japan are expected to continue to expand.

Manufacturing Industry Focus Areas

In terms of nominal GDP, Japan ranks 3rd and is one of the biggest producers automobiles and consumer electronics. But with China being one of the major competitors, the country faces challenges. Re-shoring of manufacturing processes due to high local costs have affected the market adversely. Outdated machinery has been resulting in replacement orders across the industry, adversely affecting sector reputation.

The Japanese manufacturing industry needs to have a strong industrial backing to solidify its position as a supply base. Plus, the country needs increased demand from emerging nations which will boost production.

The Future of Japanese Manufacturing

The Japanese Ministry of Economics has specified main focus areas of the industry and classified these areas under two primary categories.

The categories are a) the high-level products and b) high-level components. Under the high-level products, the focus areas include manufacturing robots, aircraft and vehicles. For the high-level components, these include carbon fibre and fine chemicals. This will offer impetus for focused growth within the industry.

In order for the country to maintain its global competitive edge, it has launched IVI, also known as the Industrial Value Chain Initiative. The aim of this program is to connect factories and to ensure that industrial standards of the country are maintained at an international level. By launching IVI, key industry players set standards for technology, revolutionising production for greater efficiency. This initiative is supported by industry giants like Fujitsu, Nissan Motors, Panasonic, Mitsubishi and much more.

According to market research, we can look forward to Japan regaining its position as one of the world’s top machinery producers as these initiatives begin to manifest.

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