A Study of Strategic Themes in the Internationalisation of Japanese Industry
New Horizons in International Business series
Chapter 15: The Non-ferrous Metals Industries
15. The non-ferrous metals industry INTRODUCTION The Japanese non-ferrous metals industry ranges from the smelting and reﬁning of these metals, which include copper, lead, zinc, precious metals, nickel and aluminium, to the manufacture of products such as rolled copper and alloyed sheet metal products, electric wire and cables, as well as cast and forged non-ferrous metal products. Signiﬁcant companies in the non-ferrous industry in Japan include Nippon Mining and Metals, Mitsubishi Materials, Sumitomo Metal and Mitsui Mining and Smelting. Japan has become a considerable importer and processor of non-ferrous metals, which are basic and essential materials in a range of leading industries, including the electronics and ICT and automotive industries. Zinc is essential for the production of galvanised sheet iron and die casting, lead for storage batteries and inorganic chemicals, chromium for nuclear reactors and alloys, cobalt for automotive parts and vanadium for steel pipes, as well as many other industrial uses. Japanese non-ferrous metal mining companies, often in consortiums with trading companies, have followed a strategy over the post-war period of actively participating in the development of non-ferrous metal deposits around the world and of acquiring minority interests in foreign mineral projects so as to ensure resource security. Investment by Japanese companies in the oﬀshore processing of nonferrous metals was also a response to environmental pollution in Japan. Beginning in the 1960s, anti-pollution regulations were focused on highly polluting (and energy-intensive) processes such as smelting. The introduction of the Basic Law for Pollution Control of 1967...
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