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Japan’s factory automation industry related associations address future strategies and priorities

July 24, 2023

Japanese associations related to the factory automation (FA) industry held general meetings from mid-May to early June. Most of the associations held their meetings without any restrictions on the number of participants, etc., while taking measures to prevent Covid-19. This year, the Japan Forming Machinery Association (JFMA) and the Japan Cutting & Wear-Resistant Tool Association (JTA) changed chairpersons. The industry leaders shared their insights on future strategies and highlighted key areas of focus. 

Focus should be on 

Dr. Yoshiharu Inaba, Chairman of JMTBA (Chairman of FANUC)

The Japan Machine Tool Builders’ Association (JMTBA) held its general meeting and reception at a hotel in Tokyo on May 30. About 250 people attended. At the general meeting, Dr. Yoshiharu Inaba, Chairman of FANUC, was re-elected as chairperson. Dr. Inaba expressed his intention to further contribute to the development of the industry by focusing on the three key objectives that he has been prioritizing since his appointment: initiatives for environmental friendliness, “Digital” solutions for business process reform, and “Resilience” strategies to enhance supply chains. Additionally, the association welcomed Dr. Atsushi Ieki, President of Okuma, as its newly elected vice chairperson. 

Mr. Yasushi Kitade, Chairman of JFMA (President of Komatsu Industries)

The Japan Forming Machinery Association (JFMA) held its general meeting in Tokyo on May 16 and elected Mr. Yasushi Kitade, President of Komatsu Industries (Kanazawa City), as its new chairperson. Mr. Kitade commented, “It is a sobering feeling to take over the chairmanship of an organization with such a long history.” JFMA reported that orders received in FY2022 increased 7.9% year-on-year to 375.7 billion yen, following strong growth in the previous fiscal year. Although the outlook for the current fiscal year is still uncertain, JFMA expects demand for electric vehicle-related and carbon-neutral products to increase, and forecasts orders to remain largely unchanged at 375.2 billion yen. Notably, the association emphasized the upcoming MF-TOKYO event as a pivotal moment in the industry’s calendar. 

Akihiro Teramachi, Chairman of JMAA (President of THK)

The Japan Machine Accessory Association (JMAA) held its general meeting on May 23. Akihiro Teramachi, president of THK and chairperson of the association, shared ambitious goals and said, “By 2027, we expect to break the record sales of 228 billion yen set in 2018, which was the largest ever.” He further added, “Personally, I would like to aim for more than that. As automation and robotization continue to advance, we must contribute to the development of the manufacturing industry through various innovations and proposals.” 

Market in adjustment phase 

Mr. Kenji Yamaguchi, Chairman of JARA (President and CEO of FANUC)

The Japan Robot Association (JARA) held its general meeting on May 31. At the reception held after the general meeting, Mr. Kenji Yamaguchi, President and CEO of FANUC and Chairman of JARA, said, “In 2022, the robot industry, supported by the willingness to invest in automation at home and abroad, saw orders increase 3.1% year-on-year to 1,111.8 billion yen, and production exceed 1 trillion yen for the first time, up 8.7% to 1,021.0 billion yen. Although demand for automation has remained high this year, there have been some signs of an adjustment period compared with our original forecast.” JARA revised its order intake forecast at the beginning of the year by 8.3% to 1.02 trillion yen. “Production value remains unchanged at 1.50 trillion yen, an increase of 2.8% over the same period,” he noted. Notably, Mr. Yasutoshi Nishimura, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), joined the reception to deliver a congratulatory speech.

Mr. Yasushi Goshima, Chairman of JTA (General Manager of the Cutting Tool Division of NACHI-FUJIKOSHI)

The Japan Cutting & Wear-Resistant Tool Association (JTA) held its general meeting in Tokyo on June 7, with Mr. Yasushi Goshima, General Manager of the Cutting Tool Division of NACHI-FUJIKOSHI, assuming the position of chairperson. “I feel the responsibility of the chairmanship,” said Mr. Goshima. He acknowledged the ongoing global concerns, and noted the accelerating and inevitable shift to electrification in the automotive industry, which will lead to a decline in tool demand. The amount of tool production last year was 491.5 billion yen. Nevertheless, JTA has set a target of achieving 500 billion yen in tool production for the current fiscal year. “As an industry association, we want to address various issues where individual companies have limitations,” he told the audience. 

The Japan Precision Measuring Instruments Manufacturers Association (JMA) held its general meeting on May 16. At the reception following the general meeting, Mr. Hitoshi Yoshida, Chairman and CEO of TOKYO SEIMITSU (ACCRETECH) and Chairman of JMA, shared insights on the current state of the industry, saying, “Orders have been a little weak this year, but there are many voices from our member companies that current business inquiries are firm.” He emphasized the growing trend toward automation and on-site measurement in metrology, and envisioned further development in areas such as non-contact measurement and environmental friendliness. 

Preaching Unity in the Industry 

Mr. Kenji Takada, Chairman of the JMTDA (President of Idaka)

The Japan Machine Tool Distributors Association (JMTDA) held its general meeting on June 7. Mr. Kenji Takada, President of Idaka, and Chairman of the JMTDA, expressed his enthusiasm, saying, “I intend to get a clear understanding of the three focus areas of the JMTDA, and together with the JMTDA, I strive for the development of the industry.” He announced plans to expand educational activities, a long-standing goal of his presidency. The JMTDA also intends to increase the frequency of its activities, such as lectures and events in each district, by 1.5 times in order to promote industry-wide development. 

At the general meeting of the Japan Machine Tool Importers’ Association (JMTIA) held on May 29, Hidehiro Imoto, Executive Chairman of YKT and Chairman of JMTIA, highlighted the need for Japanese companies to focus on new technologies amid various economic uncertainties. “The pandemic is mostly over, and we are almost back to normal life. However, there are many uncertainties in the economy, such as the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the slowdown of the Chinese economy, and the restructuring of the market due to U.S.-China relations. There has also been a slight decline in the appetite for investment within Japan, partly due to these factors. We intend to support the domestic manufacturing industry by introducing sophisticated technologies from around the world,” he emphasized. 

The annual general meeting of the Japan Die & Mold Industry Association (JaDMA) was held in Nagoya on June 9, with approximately 160 attendees, including member companies. At the meeting, the association reported on the membership transition, activities and financial results of the previous year, and business plans for the current fiscal year. Mr. Chen Hao, Business Div. General Manager of BYD Japan, a Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer, gave a special lecture. Mr. Satoru Koide, President of KOIDE, Chairman of JaDMA, appealed, “For the Japanese die & mold industry to become a sustainable industry, it is important for the industry to become solidly united and send out a strong message as ‘One Voice of the Industry‘”. 


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