TOKYO Jan 9 Canon Inc and other
Japanese electronics companies want to bring production of some
goods back home, reversing a years-old trend of overseas
manufacturing as a rapid decline in the value of the yen makes
local goods more competitive.
The yen has tumbled some 8 percent since the Bank of Japan
last eased monetary policy in October and is now trading near
seven-year lows. Since late 2012, it has lost a third of its
value due to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's reflationary economic
The steep slide has raised costs for firms highly dependent
on raw material imports as well as those that manufacture
Now, Canon says it wants domestic production to return to 60
percent of overall output in three years, up from around 40
percent. "From now on, new copier, camera and printer products
will be built at domestic factories and as they replace older
products, the volume of goods made overseas will fall," said
company spokesman Hirotomo Fujimori.
Sharp Corp is also looking at lifting the ratio of
LCD televisions and refrigerators made in Japan to counter the
yen's weakness, a spokesman said.
Panasonic Corp has been considering whether to lift
domestic production levels for some time. Its white goods
division sees a 1.8 billion yen drop in operating income every
time the dollar strengthens by one yen, because this division
largely produces its goods overseas and sells them in Japan.
No companies, however, have yet to go so far as saying that
yen weakness is a big enough factor to justify the large
investment needed for new domestic plants or assembly lines.
"Most white goods sold in Japan are imported from China so
it's natural we could see more goods manufactured in Japan on
the back of a weaker yen," Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga said at
the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
"But it's more of a passive rather than a proactive shift,"
(Additional reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Writing by Edwina Gibbs;
Editing by Miral Fahmy)