Japanese firms react to protests in China

By Steve Toloken
News Editor / International

Published: September 21, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Machinery

GUANGZHOU, CHINA (Sept. 21, 2:35 p.m. ET) — The anti-Japanese protests that swept China in the last week prompted injection molding machine maker Nissei Plastic Industrial Co. Ltd. to temporarily shut down production there as a safety precaution, as other Japanese plastics firms said they had stepped up monitoring of events.

Nissei said it closed its Taicang factory Sept. 18 after hearing reports of local demonstrations being planned in the territorial dispute between the two countries over ownership of a chain of islands.

It’s not clear if any other Japanese plastics firms closed factories. Several contacted by Plastics News said they did not stop production.

But some larger Japanese automakers and electronics manufacturers did close factories temporarily after some facilities were damaged in demonstrations. In large cities like Guangzhou, Japanese restaurants closed and covered their signs after some were vandalized in protests.

“As we received information regarding a plan for the anti-Japanese demonstration march at Taicang city on Sept. 18, we casually shut off the Taicang factory for security of every staff,” Nissei said in an email to Plastics News.

Japanese plastic companies said they had not seen any significant impact on business to date, but said the events could have longer-term repercussions. The firms seemed to be choosing their words carefully, and expressed hope that issues surrounding the islands, called Diaoyu by China and Senkaka by Japan, would be settled amicably, given time.

“We have not closed any facilities so far,” said a statement from equipment maker Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd. “We do not see any serious impact from Japanese customers yet; however, we will watch the situation carefully.”

Nissei said the impact on business and customers was minor, although it added that it received one order for molding machine spare parts from a Japanese customer that had equipment damaged in the demonstrations, and an inquiry from a Japanese auto parts maker about its maintenance policy on machines damaged in protests.

“We do not expect any serious and direct effect on us,” Nissei said.

Compounder and material supplier Mitsubishi Plastics Inc. said it did not stop production at any of its China facilities. It said it believed that the any economic harm would be less than from either the March 11, 2011, tsunami and nuclear crisis, or the flooding in Thailand last year that damaged many Japanese factories there.

Japanese industry figures suggest the impact of the islands dispute could be significant, if the tensions spill over into the closely linked economies of the two countries.

Sumitomo officials, for example, told Plastics News last year that 40 percent of their Japanese-made presses are sold to China, including to Japanese companies operating there.

In addition to an export market, China has also become a more important production base for the Japanese industry.

Japan’s plastics machinery trade association estimated last year that production of Japanese injection molding machines in China doubled, to about 2,400 presses, as Japanese firms expanded their capacities in the mainland mostly to meet local demand.

The protests could prompt a rethinking among Japanese businesses about China, Sumitomo said: “All Japanese companies will be forced to review their China businesses in a broad sense.”

Nissei said Japanese companies could be hurt by a boycott of their goods, or by some tightening of Japanese companies in administrative procedures, such as restrictions on work permits and visas, strict conditions on custom duties, or adding some difficult conditions to transfer price restrictions.

“Taking into account every aspect of the circumstances, it is quite clear that Japan-China issues may become a huge barrier against the business in China,” Nissei said, although the company also sharply criticized the Japanese government in its statement for not taking any actions to fix Japan’s structural problems, even as companies have adjusted their strategies and sought out foreign markets.

“They just postpone their decisions and do not find out any solution,” Nissei said. “We are not satisfied with such governmental behavior.”


Comments

Japanese firms react to protests in China

By Steve Toloken
News Editor / International

Published: September 21, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

2014 sees modest sales increase, but profit decrease, for Dow Chemical

January 29, 2015 4:20 pm ET

Dow Chemical Co. delivered modest sales growth in 2014, but the firm's profit took a tumble.    More

Image

Resin prices continuing to tumble

January 29, 2015 2:24 pm ET

The ongoing slide in crude oil prices is taking commodity resin prices down as well.    More

Image

Materials firms look for stock rebound

January 29, 2015 1:52 pm ET

DuPont Co., A. Schulman Inc. and Rogers Corp. thrived amid the stock market chaos of 2014, but the other 12 publicly held materials firms tracked by...    More

Image

Chemtrusion, Mytex Indiana compounding plant set for expansion

January 29, 2015 1:35 pm ET

Japanese and American partners in a compounding plant in Indiana plan to expand the facility.    More

Image

DuPont-Chenguang JV to produce fluoroelastomers in China

January 29, 2015 12:30 pm ET

DuPont Fluoropolymer Solutions and Zhonghao Chenguang Chemical Research Institute Co. Ltd. are proceeding with a 50-50 joint venture to serve the fast...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events