Table 1 shows nonwovens production, exports, imports, domestic demand and import ratios in domestic demand. Japan’s nonwovens demand in 2013 was 420,934 tons, a 5.2% increase compared to the previous year. The export volumes rose 5.6% to 53,344 tons. The import volume was 142,784 tons, which was significantly higher at 10.1%. The amount of imported nonwovens has increased steadily. In 2009, the import volume still increased although domestic demand largely decreased due to the global economic crisis. In 2013, import volumes greatly increased in spite of depreciation of yen in the exchange markets.
Domestic production volume and import ratio
The imported nonwovens ratio in domestic demand in 2013 was 33.9%, exceeding 32.4% in 2012. The imported nonwovens ratio keeps on rising and its influence on domestic production cannot be ignored. In 2013, the domestic production also increased because the domestic demand had increased, however production will be sluggish if the demand is stagnant.
Most of the nonwovens imported is polypropylene spunbond material for diapers. Imports of this material have increased as diaper production has increased in Japan. The import volume of polypropylene spunbonded nonwovens for diapers in 2013 was 64,860 tons, which represented a high growth rate of 18.5% compared to 54,735 tons in 2012. The gross import volume of nonwovens in 2013 was 13,150 tons more than 2012, 10,125 tons were for diapers, which demands the most of the import increase was for diapers.