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Press Tour Information
TOKYO WEST: Tama Press Tour
“Unknown” high-tech industrial zone in the metropolis
Tama Area, western Tokyo, is a well known dormitory suburb with a population of over 4 million. But, in fact, Tama is also one of the major industrial zones in Japan. The annual total industrial output reaches 8.1 trillion, beyond that of the twenty-three wards of central Tokyo. When you look at “Broader Tama,” including southwestern Saitama and central Kanagawa prefectures, the output amounts to twice as much as that of Silicon Valley in the United States.
Tama’s main industry is manufacturing, for example, precision instrument production. Historically, many military plants were located in Tama before 1945, followed by the trend of factories and laboratories moving in from overcrowded central Tokyo from the 1960s. A notable feature of Tama’s industry is high numbers of medium- and small-sized enterprises which boast their own product development capabilities, and are not mere subcontractors. Some of them have world-class technology and enjoy a big market share. Tama is one of the major high-tech industrial heartlands in the world. Meanwhile, local governments, commercial associations, companies and universities in Tama have been actively strengthening mutual collaboration to achieve synergy. As implied by the setting up of the Nikkei Tama bureau in 2005, Tama has drawn attention recently from all over the country as a hot area that suggests promising directions for revitalizing the Japanese economy.
Tama is just now facing opportunities for further development: the opening of Hachioji junction in the coming fall, linking the Chuo Expressway to the Ken-O Expressway, and the possible military-civilian joint use of Yokota Air Base. It is strongly expected that these developments will remove the logistical handicaps of Tama as an inland region and make the area the true west gateway of Tokyo in the near future.
In this Press Tour, you will visit two manufacturers globally valued for their outstanding skills and creativity despite their modest company sizes, following a general briefing on Tama’s industrial capacity and active government-industry-academia collaborations.
1. Briefing on Tama’s Industrial Power and its Challenges for Industrial Vitalization by Mr. Hideto Okazaki, Director of the Executive Office, TAMA Industrial Vitalization Association
While big companies in Japan shifted their production bases overseas and the Japanese economy suffered an economic slump from the 1990s, many of small- and middle-sized manufacturers in the Tama Area still achieved a satisfactory level of profit. How? And, during Japan’s gradual economic recovery, what strategies for the future are the companies in Tama developing to improve their product development capabilities and create a domestic and international marketing network?
FPC will invite Mr. Hideto Okazaki, Director of the Executive Office of TAMA Industrial Vitalization Association Inc., to give you a general briefing on the features of Tama’s industry and the association’s efforts to prompt Tama’s industry.
* TAMA Industrial Vitalization Association Inc. >> Link
Established in 1998, TAMA Association Inc. has supported member companies in Broader Tama, involving southwestern Saitama and central Kanagawa. TAMA Association bridges affiliations among member companies, between numerous universities of science and technology, and partnerships with banks and other institutions. TAMA stands for “Technology Advanced Metropolitan Area.”
2. Elionix Inc. (>> Link)
Established in 1975, Elionix Inc. has developed and produced superfine processing equipment such as a high performance electron beam lithography system crucial for developing next-generation devices. Elionix developed a 5nm-line-width writing system (1nm= 0.000001mm), the narrowest pitch in the world, and achieved the highest density lithography. While a single Blue-ray Disc, spotlighted as the next-generation DVD, offers up to 50 GB of storage capacity, Elionix is able to produce high density optical disks and memory chips with far greater storage capacities. Recently, a next-generation hard disc mastering equipment is also capturing attention. It is said that it is Elionix that will determine the future of the world’s next-generation devices. Its domestic market share is more than 80% and many foreign engineers visit the headquarters one after another.
In this tour, you will observe some of Elionix‘s cutting-edge equipment such as an electron beam writing system, following a briefing on the company profile by the President, Mr. Seigo Honme. In addition, Elionix is a member of the TAMA association and has taken advantage of partnership with universities for its new product development. After lunch President Honme and Director Okazaki, TAMA Industrial Vitalization Association Inc., will be able to talk about the outcome of the government-industry-academia collaboration.
3. Mitaka Kohki Co., Ltd. (>> Link)
Established in 1966, Mitaka Kohki Co., Ltd. has developed and produced a broad spectrum of state-of-the-art optical instruments from astronomical telescopes to medical equipment. It is a modest sized back-street factory with a mere forty or so workers, but even bigger manufacturers are unable to catch up with its technology and ideas. It has also earned a great global reputation comparable to the world’s leading manufacturers, such as Carl Zeiss in Germany. For example, a highly sensitive monitoring camera of Mitaka Kohki was mounted on the NASA Space Shuttle, and the share for a surgical microscope stand used in neurosurgical operations within the North American market amounts to 70%.
The corporate philosophy is “to make something necessary, rather than convenient”. Mitaka Kohki is currently trying to develop a solar collector to convert seawater into fresh water to meet Middle-East countries’ requests. Known as a representative company of Japanese manufacturing, they received Emperor Akihito at their headquarters in April 2006. A visit by the Emperor to a back-street factory was without precedent in history.
In this tour, you will observe the factory where cutting-edge equipment such as neurosurgical microscopes are being assembled, following a briefing on the company profile by Mr. Giichi Nakamura, the founder and chairman of the company. His company is also famous for its unique employee selection methods, such as drawing a self-portrait and making model aircraft, all focusing solely on skill with hands. After the factory tour, president Nakamura will talk to you from the heart about his strong commitment to manufacturing represented by such selection methods.
【Picture 1】Development of a new electron beam lithography unit (Elionix Inc.)
【Picture 2】Mr. Seigo Honme, President of Elionix Inc.
【Picture 3】Mr. Giichi Nakamura, Chairman of Mitaka Kohki Co., Ltd., and surgical microscope stand for neurosurgical operations
【Picture 4】Headquarters of Mitaka Kohki Co., Ltd. in a residential area
Tour itinerary and application details
Tour itinerary and application details:
1. Itinerary: Tuesday, July 11 (transportation: chartered bus)
09:00 Meet at the exit of JR Hachioji station on the Chuo line
09:20 Arrive at Elionix Inc.
09:30-10:30 Briefing on Tama’s industrial power by Mr. Hideto Okazaki
10:30-11:00 Introduction of Elionix Inc. by Mr. Seigo Honme
11:00-12:00 Elionix Inc. showroom tour
12:00-13:00 Lunch discussion with Mr. Okazaki and Mr. Honme
13:15 Leave Elionix Inc.
14:20 Arrive at Mitaka Kohki Co., Ltd.
14:30-15:10 Introduction of Mitaka Kohki Co., Ltd. by Mr. Giichi Nakamura
15:10-15:50 Mitaka Kohki Co., Ltd. factory tour
15:50-16:40 Discussion with Mr. Giichi Nakamura
16:45 Leave Mitaka Kohki Co., Ltd.
17:00 Arrive at the south exit of JR Musashi-sakai station on the Chuo line
2. Qualification: Bearer of Gaimusho foreign press registration card
3. Expenses: 1,500 per person (including transportation and lunch)
*FPC will inform the participants of payment methods, cancellation fee etc. later on.
4. Participants: Limited to the first 15 applicants on a first-come first-served basis.
(Only one reporter and one photographer from each company, but two participants in each TV team will be acceptable.) If the number of applicants exceeds 10, an upper limit may be set on the number of participants from each country.
5. FPC Contact: Mr. Sugawara and Ms. Koizumi (Tel: 03-3501-5070)
(1) When you photograph and film at the tour sites, please follow the instructions of the officials on duty.
(2) FPC will not be liable for any inconvenience, trouble or accident that might occur in the course of the tour.