The Japanese Rubber Workers Union Confederation has finalized its official spring 2016 policy to improve the living standards of its membership. The committee approved demands focusing on wages, lump-sum payments, measures to combat excessive work and other issues. With regard to improving wages, the union decided to demand a raise of around 2 percent.
Rubber consumption will see its first annual increase in five years, according to a forecast by the Japan Rubber Manufacturers Association (JRMA). The combined total consumption volume of natural and synthetic rubber in 2016 is expected to amount to 1.3414 million tons, up 0.8 percent from the previous year. See a breakdown of the figures by major product category below.
Sumitomo Riko Co. Ltd. has concluded an exclusive distributor agreement with Hydroscand AB, a Swedish seller of high-pressure hoses based in Stockholm. The move will enable Sumitomo Riko to expand sales of high-pressure hoses in 43 countries in Europe and elsewhere. This marks the company's first full entry into the industrial hose business's European market.
Trading Companies Part 2—Although many trading firms focus on domestic demand, a generational change has been under way recently, resulting in an increase in younger managers. Merchants of this new generation have begun setting their sights not just within the country but overseas as well. They are also eager to explore new markets and develop new technologies and products.
Trading Companies Part 1—A recent survey of trading companies in Japan conducted by Japan Rubber Weekly found that about 70 percent of respondents saw tough times ahead in 2016. The survey of 330 trading companies in Japan received 203 responses (62 percent response rate). Trading companies play a crucial role in Japan’s distribution.
Manufacturers Part 2—Under 1 percent of respondents answered that they expect "double-digit growth" for "forecast (planned) 2016 net sales," while roughly half the companies, or 48 percent, forecast "single-digit growth." A total of only 14 percent of respondents forecast either "single-digit" or "double-digit" declines in revenues.