Machinery is the industrial manufacturing sector that produces machines and components for other machines. It is, by definition, a very broad sector that ranges from products for daily use, such as boilers, to instruments essential for professional sectors, such as earthmoving and other construction equipment, office equipment, refrigerating equipment, and semiconductor fabricating equipment.

In terms of production value, the machinery industry’s total production value in 2011 amounted to ¥59,646 billion, or around 1.25% of Japan’s GDP. The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry often divides the sector into sub-sectors, the two biggest of which are transport equipment, which accounts for 45.3% of market value, and general machinery which amounts to 22%. Other minor sub-sectors are electronic components and devices, whose production represented 12.5% of the total value of the sector in 2011, electrical machinery (10.8%), information and communication electronic equipment (7.3%) and precision machinery (1.4%).

Machine Tools

Japan is the world’s second-largest producer of machine tools. It is also the largest exporter of machine tools. Japanese strength in this sector is vital to the competitiveness of other industries given their function as ‘mother machines’, those capable of producing other machines. Detailed information on production, imports, exports and the industry’s main players is outlined in this section.