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

Huntsman closing four pigment plants

March 5, 2015 3:36 pm ET

Huntsman Corp. is closing four plants — three in the U.S. and one in Germany — that make pigments for plastics and other markets.    More

Image

Bayer to stop MDI production in Brazil

March 4, 2015 9:21 am ET

Bayer AG's Bayer MaterialScience plans to stop production of MDI polyurethane at its plant near Rio de Janeiro in July, removing 55 metric tons per...    More

Image

Best Places To Work: No. 6, Colors For Plastics

March 4, 2015 12:35 pm ET

Colors For Plastics, which now employs 115 people, started with one man who handled everything.    More

Image

Best Places To Work: No. 7, CMD Corp.

March 4, 2015 12:27 pm ET

There's a lot of innovating going on at the No. 7 company on Plastics News' Best Places to Work ranking.    More

Image

Ineos to combine ABS unit with Styrolution in Americas

March 4, 2015 10:03 am ET

Global materials firm Ineos Group will combine its ABS resin business with its Styrolution unit in the Americas.    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

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

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

More Events