Japanese shipyards in decline

Image: Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding.
Image: Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding.

Figures reveal number of technical staff at domestic shipbuilders has plummeted in the last decade.


According to figures released by the Shipbuilders Association of Japan (SAJ), the number of technical and engineering staff employed at Japanese yards has fallen to fewer than 10,000 for the first time since records began in 1979.

The SAJ says numbers dropped by 4.6% in the last year, from 10,030 to 9,570 — a decline of 38% in the last ten years. At the height of the last shipbuilding boom in 2010, there were 15,451 technical staff employed in Japanese yards.

Tough competition from South Korea and China is responsible for the slide and Japan’s shipyards now have a backlog of 534 ships amounting to 17.9m gt, compared to 1,105 vessels and 42m gt in 2010.

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