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2009年1月15日 (木)

輸出企業不振 北米市場頼みが裏目に出た

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 15, 2009)

Japan Inc. must wean self off N. American market

輸出企業不振 北米市場頼みが裏目に出た(115日付・読売社説)

The business performance of Japanese exporting companies is deteriorating fast due to the simultaneous slowdown of the global economy triggered by the U.S. financial crisis. The situation can now be described as a debacle.

 金融危機に端を発した世界同時不況で、日本の輸出企業の業績が急速に悪化している。今や、「総崩れ」とも言える状況になってきた。

Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. are expecting operating losses on a consolidated basis for the business year ending in March, though both of them had earlier forecast profits. Sony projects that it will fall into the red for the first time in 14 years, while Toshiba anticipates its first loss in seven years.

 ソニーと東芝の2009年3月期連結決算は、従来の黒字予想から一転し、営業赤字になる見通しだ。赤字転落は、ソニーが14年ぶりで、東芝は7年ぶりだ。

Sony's projected loss is due to the fact that sales of liquid crystal display TVs, one of the company's flagship products, and other electronic items have tumbled in the United States and Europe. In addition, the company has suffered from declining export profits due to the yen's sharp appreciation.

Meanwhile, Toshiba has been dealt a blow by the lackluster performance of its semiconductor business.

 ソニーは主力の液晶テレビなどの販売が欧米で急減した。急激な円高で輸出の採算も悪化し、ダブルパンチに直撃された。東芝は半導体事業が不振に陥った。

The slowdown in the manufacturing industry, an engine driving the Japanese economy, was triggered by the downturn in the auto industry.

 日本経済を牽引(けんいん)する製造業の業績不振は、自動車業界の失速から始まった。

Toyota Motor Corp. said in late December that it expected a 150 billion yen operating loss for the business year ending in March 2009. It has taken only a year for Toyota to fall into the red since it reported operating profits of more than 2 trillion yen in the last business year.

 トヨタ自動車は昨年末、今期決算が1500億円の営業赤字になるとの業績見通しを発表した。前期の2兆円超の営業黒字から、わずか1年での転落である。

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'Toyota shock' makes waves

The shock wave caused by Toyota's poor performance has spread to a wide range of businesses, including manufacturers of electrical appliances and industrial materials.

 「トヨタショック」の波が、電機業界や素材メーカーなどに幅広く及んできたといえよう。

Japanese export companies have been enjoying positive earnings for the last few years, benefiting from thriving markets in North America and other regions, and from the weak yen. But drastic changes in the business climate have exposed the fragility of their profit structures.

 ここ数年、北米などの好調な海外市場と円安を追い風に、輸出企業の好業績が続いた。しかし、経営環境の激変で、収益構造のもろさをさらけ出した形だ。

The total operating profits of listed companies are expected to decline in the business year ending in March for the first time in seven business years. The harsh economic environment is forecast to continue in the next business year.

 上場企業の今期決算は、全体で7期ぶりに減益となる見通しだ。来期も逆風が続くとみられる。

The slowdown in exports has also cut into Japan's current account surplus. The doldrums in the manufacturing industry will impede the recovery of the nation's economy, which has entered a recession phase.

 輸出の鈍化で、日本の経常黒字も激減している。製造業の不振は景気後退局面入りした日本経済の回復の足かせにもなろう。

Exporting companies are working all out to secure profits under the current economic turmoil. Sony will cut 16,000 workers, including 8,000 regular employees, at home and abroad. Toyota and Toshiba have already decided to reduce production drastically after reviewing their manufacturing systems.

 厳しい状況の下、輸出企業各社は収益の確保に躍起だ。ソニーは世界で正社員8000人を含む1万6000人を削減する。トヨタや東芝などは生産体制を見直し、大幅減産に踏み切った。

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Major rethink needed

But cost reductions through restructuring efforts are just stopgap measures. It is an urgent task for exporters to reform their profit structures from a medium- to long-term viewpoint.

 しかし、リストラ加速などによるコスト削減は、対症療法に過ぎない。中長期的な視野から、収益構造を転換する方策が急務だ。

First, the exporting companies should end their excessive dependence on North America and strengthen structures to glean earnings in countries around the globe, including newly emerging markets with high growth potential, such as China and India.

 まず、北米依存を改め、潜在成長力が高い中国やインドなどの新興市場を含めて、グローバルに稼ぐ体制を強化する必要がある。

It is also important for the firms to pick their business fields carefully and concentrate on priority ones. Sanyo Electric Co. has agreed to be acquired by Panasonic, while Toshiba will take over the hard-disk-drive business of Fujitsu Ltd. Such reorganization within the industry is bound to accelerate. Manufacturing companies must work out aggressive business strategies in response.

 事業の「選択と集中」の徹底も課題だ。パナソニックが三洋電機の買収で合意し、東芝は、富士通のハードディスク駆動装置(HDD)事業を買収する方向だ。業界再編の加速は不可避だろう。各社の攻めの戦略が求められる。

Research and development will become even more important to enable firms to make new products that give them a competitive edge in the future. In the past, the Japanese manufacturing industry has used its high-tech capability as leverage to overcome so-called high-yen recessions and the bursting of the IT bubble. We are confident that the industry has the potential to rise to the latest challenge.

 将来の競争力の源泉になる新製品を生み出すため、研究開発の重要性も一段と増す。

 日本の製造業は、高い技術力をテコにしながら、かつての円高不況や、IT(情報技術)バブル崩壊を克服してきた。今回の苦境を乗り切る底力に期待したい。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 15, 2009)

20091150209  読売新聞)

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