No. of Japan manufacturing jobs lowest in five decades

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    The new employment data shows the manufacturing sector has shrunk by about 40% from a peak of 16 million workers in 1992,

    And Abe spending trillions of yen on roads and construction does not help this in the slightest. Japan Inc. is a mere shell compared to what it once was.

  • 0


    There is no way he can reverse the slide. This is exactly what happened many years ago when Japan was on the rise and production in western countries started to decline. Japan's workers were paid less than those in the west and combined with weak yen put them on a winning streak for many years. Now its workers are paid more and the yen is strong. Combine that with not many people wanting to work in factories and you end up with this situation. Everything is moving over to mainland Asia.

  • 0


    This a natural capitalistic trend unfortunately. Even during the boom years we saw hollowing out of certain industries.  Ship building, mining textiles come to mind. Another thing. The high yen is not new. The yen was soaring in the boom years of the 1980s. Hollowing out occurs not because of currencies (though they can make a bad situation worse) but because of rust. Old machinery, old manufacturing processes, old managerial methods. I am not surprised to see Sony and Panasonic eating it. There is something wrong with their management.  (Neither gives international guarantees on its production, as least their cameras, for instance. Too bad. They have been pioneers in mirrorless cameras.) I do not wish to downplay the role of the high yen in manufacturing's problems, the the high yen is not the main cause of hollowing out. And certainly LDP pork politics are not going to do any good.

  • -4


    Like many developed economies, the manufacturing sector has been hollowed out in high-cost Japan as it struggles to compete with manufacturing powerhouse China and rivals in South Korea and Taiwan.

    Actually, Japan is perfectly competitive when electrical prices don't suddenly double. Manufacturing is the most energy intensive industry, so of course high electrical and gas prices are going to lower competitiveness.

  • -1

    Open Minded

    Basroil: So far as I am aware electrical prices have not doubled. But for sure bureaucracy at management level has not halved.

  • 0

    Open Minded

    Electricity power is still significantly cheaper in Japan vs. a similar competitor country: Germany (about 15% more expensive than in Japan).

  • 0


    “We must think about ways to keep manufacturing in Japan,” he added.

    And this is the problem. The goal isn't to keep manufacturing in Japan, the goal is to keep manufacturing JOBS in Japan. Now this may seem like the same thing to the average person, but it isn't really. Younger Japanese people are better educated and not attracted by the dirty, dangerous and difficult production-line jobs, and employers can't afford to pay for someone with a University degree to put tires on a car. The answer is to outsource the production parts to ASEAN countries, while retaining the skilled work (R&D, strategy, supply chain management, logistics management, etc) in Japan and to rotate these employees around the foreign plants. That way manufacturing JOBS will grow, while the actual products are manufactured elsewhere (but are owned by Japanese companies, so the revenue stream returns to Japan).

    Outsourcing is a winning model, as big companies like Apple can tell you.

  • -2


    Manufacturing is necessary for a successful economy. The liberal talking point of a "value chain" is a mytn.

  • -2


    We must think about ways to keep manufacturing in Japan.

    Why? And how much is that going to cost we taxpayers? I suspect it would involve throwing trillions of yen of our money at a problem that's inevitable anyway. Again.

    Germany has a successful manufacturing sector, largely because it maintains free trade and good relations with its trading partners and neighbors, in stark contrast to Japan.

  • -3


    Open MindedFeb. 02, 2013 - 08:43PM JST

    So far as I am aware electrical prices have not doubled.

    The cost of producing electricity is more than double pre-3/11 even including a 78yen/dollar conversion rate. With power companies losing trillions of yen a quarter simply in fuel prices the electrical prices will end up doubling even for lot customers, or even tripling if they have to sink the costs of reactors.

    And of course that doesn't include the already twice as high electrical costs for those companies that produce a chunk of their own electricity.

    JeffLeeFeb. 03, 2013 - 08:45AM JST

    Germany has a successful manufacturing sector, largely because it maintains free trade and good relations with its trading partners and neighbors, in stark contrast to Japan.

    That market has been in steep decline for two years now, Japan shouldn't follow in their footsteps.

  • -2


    That market has been in steep decline for two years now,

    Everything associated with the Eurozone has been in steep decline during that period. The trend has more to do with temporary market conditions than any structural problems.

    Whatever happens, Germany will remain an integral part of the world's biggest free trade area, where it can find accessible markets for its manufactured products. Japan -- an "island" in many respects -- isn't so fortunate.

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