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Major Industry News in Japan 2023

December 29, 2023

1. New plants in India

Japanese machine tool builders have decided to establish a new plant in India this year to increase their production capacity. The reasons for the move include the prolonged economic stagnation in China and the stable economic growth in India. 

In March, Yamazaki Mazak began full operations at its new plant in Pune, Maharashtra, western India. The company aims to develop new vertical machining center (MC) models for the Indian market and meet the needs of the huge market. 

Brother Industries also announced in February that it is building a new plant near the city of Bengaluru in southern India, which is expected to be completed in September 2024. The company sees further growth in the Indian market, especially for automobiles and motorcycles.

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2. Trade shows flourish in Asia 

Taiwan’s largest machine tool exhibition, the “Taipei International Machine Tool Show 2023 (TIMTOS2023),” was held for six days from March 6 to 11, attracting about 45,000 visitors. At the opening ceremony, President Tsai Ing-wen took the stage and remarked, “The government is committed to further supporting the machine tool industry and strengthening it as the foundation of Taiwan’s industry”. Exhibitors promoted their latest technologies with a focus on environmental friendliness. 

The “18th China International Machine Tool Show (CIMT2023)” was held from April 10 to 15 in Beijing, China. The total number of visitors exceeded 336,000, a record high. The shift to electric vehicles (EVs) is progressing rapidly in China, and visitors showed keen interest in EV-related solutions from domestic and foreign manufacturers.

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3. FA manufacturers and organizations undergoing leadership changes

A number of top management changes have taken place at manufacturers and organizations in the factory automation industry in Japan. Yamazen President & CEO Kohji Kishida, who took office in April, is determined to expand the business, believing that “manufacturing in Japan should be further revitalized from the local level”. 

The Japan Cutting & Wear-resistant Tool Association (JTA) elected Yasushi Goshima, a corporate officer of NACHI-FUJIKOSHI, as its new president at its general meeting on June 7. Mr. Goshima stated, “I would like to address various issues and projects where individual companies have limitations as an industry association”. In addition, Yasushi Kitade, president of Komatsu Industries (Kanazawa, Japan), assumed the chairmanship of the Japan Forming Machinery Association (JFMA). 

As the future continues to look uncertain, much is expected of the new leaders.

4. Industry restructuring? M&A activity on the move

Merger and acquisition (M&A) activities in the machine tool industry are progressing. On July 13, Nidec announced a tender offer to make TAKISAWA its wholly owned subsidiary. On September 13, TAKISAWA expressed its support for Nidec’s tender offer. 

On September 6, DMG Mori announced the acquisition of KURAKI (Niigata, Japan, President: Hiroshi Yasukawa), adding KURAKI’s expertise in CNC horizontal boring and milling machines to its product line in preparation for increased demand for these machines. The stock transfer from KURAKI’s parent company, KURABO INDUSTRIES, to DMG Mori is scheduled to take place by the end of December 2023.

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5. MECT 2023 – a catalyst for a boost in domestic demand?

MECHATRONICS TECHNOLOGY JAPAN (MECT) 2023 was held for four days from October 18 to 21 at Port Messe Nagoya in Nagoya. It attracted its largest-ever number of exhibitors (490 companies and organizations) and a total of 77,225 visitors over the four-day period. 

Mr. Atsushi Yasuda, Director of Industrial Machinery Division, Manufacturing Industries Bureau, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, congratulated the exhibitors and sent the message that “I hope that MECT2023 leads to the strengthening of industrial competitiveness and the promotion of innovation. With the steady demand for automation and labor-saving related products, many proposals utilizing robotic systems, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) were presented at this year’s exhibition, and active business negotiations took place. 

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6. Machine tool orders remain steady despite economic slowdown 

Machine tool orders reported by the Japan Machine Tool Builders’ Association (JMTBA, Chairman: Dr. Yoshiharu Inaba) have been somewhat lacking in momentum since the fall of 2022. Orders in the first half of the current fiscal year (April-September 2023) totaled 737.28 billion yen, down 17.7% from the same period last year. This was the second consecutive half-year decline since the second half of the previous fiscal year (October 2022-March 2013). 

Domestic demand fell 24.2% YoY to 240.53 billion yen. Although some subsidies were effective, the mainstay general machinery and automobile sectors did not perform well, resulting in a sharp decline. Foreign demand fell 14.1% YoY to 496.75 billion yen due to sluggish orders from China. Despite the continuing downward trend, orders on a one-month basis remained above the 100 billion yen level, indicating that demand for capital investment is resilient.


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