Fuji Xerox goes green in China
With many of their manufacturing assembly lines being moved to China, Japanese firms are expected to step up their environmental and social development programmes in the mainland, a Japanese business leader says.
Yotaro Kobayashi, outspoken chairman of the board at Tokyo-based document management and copier giant Fuji Xerox, said that trend had emerged as 'China becomes more important to the strategic operations' of many large Japanese companies.
He said Fuji Xerox had moved to 'study and understand market needs' in the mainland, which had resulted in balancing the growth of manufacturing and sales activities with a fundamental commitment to enhancing community relations and environmental management.
Founded in 1962, Fuji Xerox is a joint venture between United States-based Xerox Corp and Fuji Photo Film.
Last November, Fuji Xerox said it was building a new plant specifically for the manufacture of emulsion aggregation (EA) toners in Japan.
The production of EA toners will allow the company to reduce harmful carbon-dioxide emission in the manufacturing process while achieving higher print quality for its imaging products.
With plans to incorporate EA toner in all its new office copiers and multifunction machines, Fuji Xerox estimated demand for the toner would exceed manufacturing capacity this year.
To meet demand, the company has pushed to double its production capacity by expanding manufacturing operations in Shanghai.
Its other production facility is in Shenzhen.
The Fuji Xerox operation in Shenzhen this month announced it had achieved 'zero waste' by reusing waste and parts produced in the course of its manufacturing activities.
The company defined zero waste as a waste landfill rate of 0.5 per cent (by weight) or lower.
This includes maintaining a recycling rate of 99.5 per cent or higher for three consecutive months.
As China increasingly became Japan's most important trading partner, he said, Japanese firms should strengthen human resources development in the mainland through academic and corporate exchange programmes and put greater emphasis on Chinese-language education for Japanese executives.
But Mr Kobayashi's efforts to promote greater awareness in Japan of its Asian neighbours recently met hostile opposition.
The day after he was interviewed by the South China Morning Post, Japanese media reported that an envelope containing what appeared to be a bullet was sent to his Tokyo home.
Early this year, two handmade firebombs were found beside the entrance to his residence.
Nobody has claimed responsibility for the threats, but Mr Kobayashi was reportedly the object of protest by Japanese right-wing groups because of his remarks about Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine last autumn.
Many Asians, particularly in China and South Korea, see the war shrine as representing Japan's military past and the many atrocities committed in Asian countries during the second world war.
This article was published in the South China Morning Post on January 25, 2005
In the newspaper article, it is said that 'Fuji Xerox had moved to 'study and understand market needs' on the mainland, which had resulted in balancing the growth of manufacturing and sales activities with a fundamental commitment to enhancing community relations and environmental management'.
You would like to know more about the 'manufacturing and sales activities' and the 'community relations and environmental management' of Fuji Xerox, and how the company hopes to achieve its targets. You should read the following websites to gather information about the relevant activities of the company, summarise the information and present it orally to the class. If time allows, you may apply what you have learned to other subjects.