The nation’s manufacturing industry is being threatened by the declining number of young workers in the sector and the transfer of manufacturing bases overseas, according to a report released Tuesday.
It is generally believed that skilled workers, mostly at small and midsize companies, support Japan’s economic strength, which is centered on manufacturing. The report says, however, that they have decreased and aged in line with the trend for manufacturers to transfer their production bases overseas.
Workers younger than 30 years old accounted for just 21.1 percent of the number of workers in the manufacturing sector in 2000, according to the first annual report on the state of the country’s manufacturing technology.
This constitutes a sharp decline from the 40.8 percent logged in 1970.
The report also shows that Japan’s manufacturing industry has continued to transfer manufacturing bases overseas since the mid-1980s, and that the speed of such transfers has accelerated recently.
The report shows that the issue of whether the country can maintain its skills in the manufacturing sector and pass them down to future generations is a cause for concern.
In terms of research and development, many manufacturing firms are experiencing a shortage of researchers, the report shows.
This is despite the fact that the manufacturing sector employs around 90 percent of the country’s researchers.
The report aims to analyze the current state of the country’s manufacturing technology and to introduce measures to promote this technology.
The report was jointly compiled by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare; and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
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