The anti-Japanese protests that swept China in the past week prompted injection press 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 site 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.
Several other plastics firms contacted by Plastics News said they did not stop production. Some larger Japanese automakers and electronics firms did close factories temporarily.
“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 expressed hope that issues surrounding the islands, called Daioyu by China and Senkaka by Japan, would be settled amicably.
“We have not closed any facilities so far,” said equipment maker Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd. in a statement. “However, we will watch the situation carefully.”
Nissei said it received an 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.
Japanese industry figures suggest the impact of the dispute could be significant if tensions spill over into the closely linked economies of the two countries. In addition to an export market, China has also become an important production base for Japan.
Japan's plastics machinery trade group estimates production of Japanese presses in China at about 2,400 units annually, as Japanese firms have expanded capacity there to meet local demand.