The Japanese chemical industry now struggles to maintain its position in the marketplace. Dependent on sluggish domestic markets, weighed down by overcapacity and over-diversification, impeded by a traditional business culture, and faced with increased competition from China and the Middle East, today's Japanese chemical companies find themselves in an increasingly precarious position.
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- Japan struggled through a 'lost decade' that in fact continued into the 2000s, and the chemical industry steadily lost ground.
- Japan's chemical industry is the second largest industry in the country and the fourth largest in terms of shipment, totalling US$286 billion in 2009.
- Overall, the Japanese economy is not expected to return to GDP annual growth rate of 2 percent until the end of 2011.
- Overcapacity and the growing presence of the Middle East and China are issues faced by chemical industries around the world.
- Chemical companies both in Japan and Europe recognise the need to streamline operations and replace ageing plants and their supporting infrastructure.