Nikon Reported To Have Closed its Japan Factory, Ending 70 Years of Domestic Camera Production

Nikon Reported To Have Closed its Japan Factory, Ending 70 Years of Domestic Camera Production

Nikon is reported to have closed its factory in Japan, bringing an end to more than 70 years of domestic camera production. Instead, manufacturing will continue only at its facility in Thailand.

The news was reported by AERAdot which claims that preparations for the closure began in October, shortly after Nikon completed a production run of the Z 7 and Z 6 cameras — presumably the recently announced mark II models. As yet, there is no news regarding job losses and Nikon has not published a press release.

The reported closure follows what has been possibly the camera industry’s most challenging year with Nikon telling investors in May to expect the company to post “extraordinary losses” as a result of COVID-19 and a market that was already contracting. The Japanese manufacturer reported some slightly more optimistic news back in November but the move to close the factory is part of its efforts to restructure the company which saw it cut its overseas workforce by 20% earlier this year.

Nikon is thought to have two more DSLRs due for release next year, dragging out its pivot to mirrorless and arguably squeezing the last of the juice out of its existing technology. There’s speculation that if its imaging division can’t return to profit in the near future, Nikon might seek to cut its losses and find a buyer sometime in the next two years.

What does Nikon’s future hold? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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I don't think the plant will be closed so much as all production is moving to Thailand. I believe the plant will remain as a sort of R&D skunkworks.

is just workforce

FWIW, the factory in Sendai was significantly damaged during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. A number of employees were affected and there have been ongoing issues ever since. Covid has probably just accelerated plans to cut and run, as many of those areas in and around Fukushima, Sendai and Iwate are still recovering and struggling.

Hopefully Nikon will survive and will not become the remnant of the past. Production in Japan is expensive, but will we see a Made In Thailand mark on Nikon lens?

I agree, and they are going to increase the size of the manufacturing plant in Thailand.

From a financial standpoint, I think this is a good move for Nikon. Taxes, labor and property are significantly cheaper in Thailand than in Japan. Since Nikon has been in a financial downslope, It should do whatever necessary to turn a profit. If not, it will forever be consigned to the history books like Kodak and Olympus. With the added savings, Nikon could pour more money into developing a camera to compete with Sony and Canon. Or take an alternative approach and build a camera system that's user friendly, cost efficient, and readily available in multiple markets.

Click bait. No, Nikon isn’t “leaving Japan”. As with many manufacturers, they’re moving production to reduce cost. Nikon’s HQ, R&D, as well as the rest of the broader org is stating put.