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Rubber industry in Japan - statistics & facts

As a major global rubber products manufacturer, Japan was one of the leading consumers of natural rubber. Throughout the past decade, the sales value of rubber products in Japan remained at close to two trillion Japanese yen, indicating a constant demand for rubber products.
Since rubber can be used alone or in combination with other materials, both its naturally and synthetically sourced forms are utilized in everyday life products ranging from vehicle tires to gaskets, hoses, belts, medical supplies, and sports equipment. Major benefits of rubber are its large stretch ratio, high resilience, and waterproofness. Also, synthetic rubber, which is synthesized from byproducts of the petroleum refining process, has high thermal stability and resistance to oils and related compounds.

 The rubber industry in Japan 

Japan's rubber industry has a strong position in the automotive industry since it is an important supplier of rubber tires. Industrial supplies and vehicle tires represented major products manufactured by the rubber industry. Rubber hoses, belts, medical supplies, and sports equipment followed, underlining the variety of products as a strong point of the Japanese rubber industry.
Regarding the trade with rubber products, automobile tires and tubes had by far the largest export value. Even though automobile tires represented the leading imported rubber product to Japan, the trade balance remained positive, as exports exceeded imports.
In 2020, manufacturing ceased worldwide on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. But after production resumed, the demand for raw materials increased again. Furthermore, the demand for rubber was expected to grow since the global demand for products such as rubber gloves and medical supplies rose as a result of the pandemic. Accordingly, the monthly rubber price in Japan dropped at the beginning of 2020 but increased again towards the end of the year.

 Major players in the Japanese rubber industry

Bridgestone Corporation was one of the largest rubber product manufacturers worldwide and represented the leading rubber company in Japan. The Tokyo-based company was one of the largest global producers of automotive tires, with a global tire market share of over 14 percent. Therefore, tires made up its largest business segment.
Other major rubber companies in Japan were Sumitomo Rubber Industries and Yokohama Rubber Company. Both are major vehicle tire manufacturers that also produce a wide range of other rubber-based products, including sports equipment and industrial rubber products.


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