• Kyodo


Japanese motor maker Nidec Corp. said Thursday it plans to invest ¥100 billion ($878 million) on robots and supercomputers to eliminate overtime work for its 10,000 group employees in Japan by 2020.

The company, which commands a high global market share for small precision motors, is known for its culture of hard work, with founder and Chairman Shigenobu Nagamori setting an example by working from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

But with its workforce diversifying through aggressive midcareer recruitment and acquisitions of overseas companies, Kyoto-based Nidec is taking steps to enhance the work-life balance of its employees.

To implement the change, Nidec plans to allocate about ¥50 billion each for its manufacturing division and its noncore division, including development and personnel units.

At its factories, the company plans to introduce cutting-edge facilities using robots to reduce operational hours. At its development unit, supercomputers would be used to shorten product design periods, while its personnel unit would make use of computer software and a video conferencing system to improve efficiency.

The company also plans to reconsider office arrangements to shorten the distance employees have to walk to get from one place to another. It will also consider flexible working hours for female workers with children.

“A company with more than ¥1 trillion in revenue cannot survive” if its workers have to work at a maddening pace, Nagamori said.

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