The Japan Packaging Institute (JPI, and significant Japanese packaging players will be showcasing their cutting-edge technology at interpack 2014.

Between September 2013 and March 2014 alone, the Japanese packaging industry invested heavily in production capacity expansion to meet both domestic and overseas demand.

Toppan Printing Co Ltd, one of Japan’s largest packaging and printing companies, announced earlier in March 2014 a US$264.4 million (¥27 billion) investment in a new flexible packaging materials plant in Gunma Prefecture. Meanwhile, Rengo Co Ltd is preparing to start operations at a new corrugated plant in Okayama Prefecture, Japan.

Overseas, Rengo is currently constructing a US$10 million corrugated box manufacturing facility in Dong Nai Province, Vietnam.

In Indonesia, Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd (DNP) has invested US$59.8 million in expanding production capacity at an existing plant while at the same time constructing a new facility. In Vietnam, DNP also recently started operations at its new facility near Ho Chi Minh City to service global brand owners manufacturing in the country, and also take up some of the growing export demand for flexible packaging in South East Asia which was previously met by the DNP Indonesia operations.

While much has been said about the stagnant economy and ageing population in Japan, the country is still performing well despite the odds. In 2013, Japan posted a 2% growth in GDP, higher than the 1.6% and 0.1% GDP growth experienced by the USA and the European Union respectively. GDP per capita in Japan was registered at US$35,855.

Japan Packaging Industry Market Statistics

Japan shipped a total of 18.37 million tons of packaging materials and containers in 2012 worth US$55.28 billion (¥5,645 billion) while 364,251 units of packaging machinery valued at US$4.24 billion (¥433 billion) were shipped, according to data from the Japan Packaging Institute (JPI).

Japan’s fiscal year 2012 – which ran from April 2012 to March 2013 – encompassed the long recovery period in which the packaging industry, and the nation as a whole, had to cope with in the aftermath of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (known as ‘Tohoku”) of 11 March 2011.

Yet despite the struggles faced in returning the supply chain to a semblance of order following the shutdown of much of the key upstream Chiba petrochemical material facility, coupled with power shortages as a result of all of its nuclear power reactors, the Japanese packaging industry has shown resilience and is continuing strongly on the road to recovery.

Packaging Materials & Containers

Proportionally, paper was the largest packaging material segment by volume at 62.29% of all materials used in 2012. This was followed by plastic at 18.73%, and metal, glass and wood at 8.7%, 7% and 3.2% respectively.

Of all the different packaging formats, PET recorded the strongest and fastest rebound in 2012 at 610,000 tons. This figure is significant in light of the PET packaging sector’s aggressive lightweighting of containers to the point where today’s bottles and containers are 15% to 32% lighter than they were in 1999. This means that not only has industry been shipping increased volumes, but has also massively increased the actual quantity of PET containers it has been putting on the market.

The carbonated soft drinks sector accounted for 86.88% of the Japanese PET market share. Meanwhile, shampoos and detergents showed a trend of increasingly shifting away from rigid HDPE and flexible pouches to PET packaging solutions – up from 2,625 tons of PET packaging in 2007 to more than 11,100 tons in 2012.

Packaging Machinery

Of the 364,251 units of packaging machinery manufactured in Japan in 2012, approximately 75% were ‘unit and inner packaging machines’, including filling, bottling, canning, pouch and container FFS, labelling, carton, sealing, shrink pack, and vacuum pack equipment. Outer packaging and packing machines made up the remaining 25%, including case landing and gluing, taping, strapping, and boxers.

Meanwhile, Japan manufactured 1,108 units of bag-making machines and 303 units of paper & paperboard converting machines in 2012.

Showcasing Japan at interpack 2014

A number of Japanese companies and their subsidiaries will be exhibiting at interpack 2014, including C.I. Kasei Co Ltd (Hall 9 / G35), DNP Indonesia (Hall 10 / C12), Fuji Machinery Co Ltd (Hall 08b / C20), Ishida Europe Limited (Hall 15 / A25-26), Kajiwara Inc (Hall 3 / F15), Kuraray EVAL Europe nv (Hall 10 / D63), Marubeni Europe Plc (Hall 7a / C16), Mitsuhashi Corporation (Hall 8b / E65), Omori Machinery Co Ltd (Hall 8b / C66), Sanko Machinery Co Ltd (Hall 8b / G28), Strapack Corporation (Hall 11 / D22), Topack Co Ltd (Hall 8b / D65), Toppan Printing Co Ltd (Hall 11 / A11), Totani Corporation (Hall 11 / C70), Toyo Jidoki Co Ltd (Hall 8b / C58), Toyo Machine Manufacturing Co Ltd (Hall 8b / D65), etc.

Japan Packaging Institute (JPI), the Tokyo-based packaging industry association of 1,100 members, will also be present at interpack (Hall 11 / C03-1) to meet with parties interested in better understanding the Japanese packaging market and its abundant business opportunities.