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Japan’s machine tool industry in 2021: production, orders, imports, exports (1/3)

May 18, 2022

The Japanese machine tool industry’s production, orders, and import/export results for 2021 have been compiled. According to the “Machinery Statistics” of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), machine tool production increased 23.7% from the previous year to 895,409 million yen. In addition, the Japan Machine Tool Builders’ Association (JMTBA) announced that the total amount of orders for 2021 increased by 70.9% over the previous year to 1,054.419 billion yen, a significant increase. This result was well above the 2019 level before the COVID-19 pandemic, but there was also a large gap between the amount of production and orders received.

The SEISANZAI Japan editorial team will explain the supply and demand performance of the Japanese machine tools industry in 2021 in three parts.


Recovering from 2020

In 2021, as in 2020, the world was still impacted by the pandemic, but what differed from 2020 was the resumption of economic activity and a step-by-step recovery due to the widespread use of vaccines. Global economies showed a recovery trend, with China being the first to recover from the pandemic and Europe and the U.S. also picking up. In Japan, economic recovery also progressed.

On the other hand, there were still many concerns such as the global spread of new types of coronaviruses such as the Omicron, shortages of semiconductors and other components, and the geopolitical risks.

Demand for capital investments also increased, and the supply-demand performance of machine tools in Japan recovered significantly in 2021 from the previous year. Machine tool production, sales, orders, exports, and imports exceeded those of the previous year, with only domestic consumption (calculated as the sum of production and imports minus exports) down 2.6% from the previous year.


Falling below 1 trillion yen two years in a row

According to METI’s Machinery Statistics, Japanese machine tool production in 2021 was 895,409 million yen, up 23.7% from the previous year. Although it was higher than the previous year, production fell below 1 trillion yen for the second year in a row. The shortage of semiconductors and other various components is considered to be the main reason that production remained weak in 2021.

Looking at production amount by machine type, Machining Centers (MC), which accounted for the largest amount of production, increased 40.6% From the previous year to 358.6 billion yen. This was the first time in two years that the amount of production exceeded 300 billion yen, due in part to the strong demand for semiconductor manufacturing. Its production volume also exceeded 30,000 units for the first time in three years.

(Editor: Takuya Saito)

Click here for part 2 of this article “Orders”
Click here for part 3 of this article “Export”

overview of japanese machine tools in 2021

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