DUSSELDORF, GERMANY — Japan's economic woes cannot be resolved quickly, said Tsukasa Yoda, whose machinery company, Nissei Plastic Industrial Co. Ltd., expects sales to decline by 20 percent this year.
Nissei, of Nagano, Japan, claims to be the market-share leader in Japan, ahead of Toshiba Machine Co. Ltd., Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd. and Japan Steel Works Ltd. and other players.
Nissei's fiscal year 1998 runs through March 1999. Nissei is projecting sales to decline by 20 percent in sales and unit volume.
Yoda is not optimistic, despite the recently announced government bailout of Japan's banks. ``Still the Japanese economy will not recover quickly,'' he said, speaking through an interpreter during a K'98 press conference.
Yoda also was asked about the health of Japan's plastics processing sector. In one high-profile case, custom molder Showa Plastics Co. Ltd. of Habikino, Japan, filed for protection from creditors in August. Could more Japanese molders be in trouble?
Yoda said that is unlikely. He said Showa Plastics is a special case because it expanded quickly around the world. Most traditional Japanese molders should survive, he said.
Nissei also has weathered the Asian flu, avoiding major layoffs, Yoda said.
Increasing sales to the United States, Canada and Mexico have helped counteract poor Asian sales, Yoda said. He expects to sell about 1,000 machines in North America this year — about one-third of its total production. U.S. sales have increased some 20 percent.
Increasing Japanese imports is a touchy subject for U.S. and Canadian injection press makers. Four of them — Milacron Inc., Engel North America, HPM Corp. and Van Dorn Demag Corp. — have organized the North American Machinery Manufacturers to monitor low-priced imports.
Yoda is president of the Japan Plastic Machinery Industry Association. How does he answer those fears? He said Nissei is selling more machines to customers who already buy Nissei's, not brand new customers. He also argues that, given the strong U.S. economy, processors are buying more imports from Germany and other countries, not just Japan.
Yoda also said that Nissei has no plans to manufacture machines anywhere outside of Japan.
Nissei showed the following equipment in Dusseldorf:
A 7-ton, all-electric press, the HM7DENKY.
A 40-ton, electric press molding CD-ROMs.
A 155-ton, all-electric press, the Elject ES3000.
Triplemelt injection units on two machines, demonstrating greater control of resin pressure, temperature and quantity, and running a thin-wall part.
A 30-ton, vertical press with a rotary table.