Old friend Dominque Numakura comes back from the annual JPCA Show with a stunning announcement: Japan’s PCB industry seems to be on life support.
From a series of dull presentations to the outsourcing of manufacturing to a general lack of optimism, the mood is dour, Numakura says. More ominous, some veterans are comparing the trend to the decimation of the US PCB industry in late 2001.
As late as 2000, the US and Japan were neck-and-neck in annual PCB sales, with the US dominating the large board space and Japan leading in HDI. Despite the problems experienced in the US, Japan continued to be the technology leader in PCBs, leading some to surmise that its vast investment and wise decisions on which technologies to focus on made Japan impervious to the cost pressures that sunk the North American industry. Numakura’s essay suggest that’s not the case, leaving one to wonder what this means for the circuit board industry for the coming decade.