Japan No Longer Home For Panasonic?

Published on November 2, 2010
by Juro Osawa

In Japan, if you buy a map of the world, it will probably have Japan right at the center–-with the Eurasia continent to the left, and the Americas to the right.

That’s what the world used to look like to the country’s electronics makers. But now, Panasonic Corp., like many of its Japanese peers, is drawing a new map.

“We now view Japan as just one of the regions of the world,” said President Fumio Ohtsubo at a press briefing in Tokyo last week. “We need to get rid of the notion of a ‘domestic’ market.”

As part of its new business plans announced last week, the company said it will do away with the current distinction between “domestic” and “global” segments of its consumer products marketing operations.

Even after a number of Japanese consumer electronics brands, like Sony and Panasonic, expanded globally and became household names around the world in the 1980s, Japan was always very much home turf, where they developed and manufactured most of their gadgets and appliances before shipping them overseas. And the country’s fairly large population of more than 120 million, its robust economy and the wealth of its consumers meant the domestic market was too important to ignore.

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