Car Making and Assembling Japan. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Industrial studies: Car assembling in Japan

  • Japan has one of the largest and most prominent car industries in the world
  • The country has been in the top 3 car manufacturing countries by number of cars made since the 1960s
  • In 2015 the country made just over 9.2 million cars
  • It is only surpassed by the United States and China.
  • This has been achieved despite a lack of basic raw materials at home.
  • Japan has very limited energy, it has to import virtually all its coal, oil and natural gas requirements.
  • This shortage has been made more acute as the country has decided to move away from Nuclear energy after the Fukushima disaster
  • Most of the iron ore and coking coal needed to manufacture steel is also imported.
  • The result has been the location of major steel works on tidal sites at the country’s deep and sheltered harbours.
  • These sites are import and export oriented as well as being locations for car assembly industries (break-of-bulk locations).
  • Japan’s major urban centres, linked by modern communications, provide both the workforce and the large, affluent local markets needed for such steel-based products as cars.
  • Within these conurbations (cities which have merged with each other as they grow), especially Keihin, Chukyo and Stetouchi, are found numerous firms making car component parts and the vehicles assembled here are easily exported to all parts of the world from these excellent sites.
  • At some of these cities, assembly plants have been built on land reclaimed from the sea as land is another very scarce resource in Japan.
  • The county’s motor vehicles brands such as: Mazda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Honda and Nisssan a world wide household names
  • Japan has been a contender in the world in motor car production for the following reasons:
    1. Very stable socio-political system since 1945.
    2. The hard working nature of the Japanese workforce.
    3. Very high technology used in assembly lines as all are now robbotised.
    4. Availability of capital.
    5. The export drive nature of Japanese industry-no country on earth today does not drive a Japanese vehicle.
    6. Privatization of industry ensuring maximization of returns.

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