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Japan Textile Industry
Japan: The cotton textile industry plays a vital part in the national economy of Japan. The country has very limited land, but a large population. She has no other alternative than to import food and raw materials by exporting finished products. In this respect, her cotton mill industry plays an important part.
Japan started modern cotton textile industry in the year 1867 and by 1938 she became the leading exporter of cotton piece goods. During the World War II nearly 80% of Japan's cotton spinning mills were destroyed by bombing. The number of spindles rose to 6.9 million in 1952 and to 13 million in 1985, most of which were modern and efficient.
Like Great Britain, Japan also depends entirely on imported cotton. The U.S.A., India and China are the important suppliers. Raw cotton is a major item of her imports.
The factors, which have helped the growth of this industry in Japan, are:
1. the natural humid climate,
2. nearness to the sources of raw cotton (if compared with Great Britain),
3. cheaper labour, usually girls from agricultural districts who provide a docile but quickly trained labour force, working longer hours for low wages,
4. new and up to date machineries and highly efficient organization,
5. development of hydro-electricity supplying cheap, convenient and readily controllable power,
6. a fairly big internal demand for cotton textiles, and nearness to the vast markets of Asia and Africa,
7. the pressure of national economy and consequent Governmental backing.
In short, development of the cotton textile industry in Japan is based on local market and also on the other factors, namely, cheaper labour, cheaper power and moist climate.
They are largely concentrated (1) in the Kinki region, of which Osaka is the main centre, (2) in the Kwanto region, around Tokyo and Yokohama, and (3) in and around Nagoya.
The cotton textile industry is especially important in the towns of Kinki region (i.e., Osaka, Kobe and others). Osaka, which is known as the Manchester of Japan, is the most important textile centre of the country.
Japan produced 3013 million sq. meters of cotton fabrics in 1965. But in 1977, production came down to 2266 million sq meters. In 1985 production rose to 2800 million sq. meters. After war damages, Japan's textile industry has been completely renovated with the most modern and efficient machines. She now produces better stuff at cheaper cost.
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