|A promotional image from Nikon showing off just some of its expansive lens lineup.|
According to a report (translated, partially walled behind a free account) from Nikkei Shimbun, Nikon is set cease operations at two of its Japanese interchangeable lens manufacturing factories next month, leaving just a single factory to produce lenses domestically.
As part of its ongoing effort to reduce operational costs to mitigate a declining market, Nikon will stop production at its Nagai Plant in Yamagata Prefecture and its Aizu Plant in Fukushima Prefecture at the end of March. Interchangeable lens production will be consolidated to its remaining factory in Otawara City, Tochigi Prefecture.
|A worker holds up an optical element destined for a Nikkor lens.|
Nikkei Shimbun reports the Nagai and Aizu plants, which are owned by Nikon subsidiary Tochigi Nikon Corporation, employ 108 and 54 employees, respectively. A Nikon representative told Nikkei Shimbun that it will ask the affected employees of both plants if they would be willing to move to the remaining factory in Otawara City. If the employees are unable to do so, Nikon says it will ‘support reemployment.’
The factories will close entirely in August, at which point Nikon says the Nagai factory will be sold off and the Aizu plant will be returned to the local government.
|An inside look at the optical image stabilization unit for an unknown Nikkor lens.|
Back in December, Nikon announced it was closing its Sendai factory in the Tōhoku region North of Tokyo and moving all camera production to Thailand. Nikon has been producing lenses in both Thailand and Japan for years, with the more high-end models being produced domestically.
It’s unclear at this time whether the consolidation at the its remaining factory in Otawara City will pick up all of the slack of the two closures, or whether those models will be outsourced to Nikon’s Thailand factories. We have contacted Nikon for comment and will update this article accordingly if we receive a response.