FRANKFURT/TOKYO—Data recently published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) indicates that Japan is delivering 45 percent of the global supply of industrial robots, making it number one in the world. According to IFR, Japan’s robot suppliers have increased their production capacity considerably in recent years: Their export ratio rose to 78 percent in 2020, when 136,069 industrial robots were shipped.

"Exports of Japanese industrial robots on average had a compound annual growth rate of 6 percent in the last five years”, says Milton Guerry, president of the IFR. “At the same time, imports of robots have always been extremely low. In 2020, only 2 percent of Japanese installations were imported. The domestic Japanese robot market is the second largest in the world after China.”

About 36 percent of the Japanese exports of robotics and automation technology were destined for China. Like other international robot suppliers, Japanese manufacturers also serve the Chinese market directly from their factories in China. These factories on the world´s largest market for industrial robots proved to be a major advantage in 2020, when international supply chains were disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Japanese suppliers were able to benefit comprehensively from the Chinese post-crisis boom that started in the second quarter of 2020 and gained momentum in the second half of the year.

“Japan is a highly robotized country and a global frontrunner in the use of robots for everyday life”, says Dr Susanne Bieller, general secretary of the IFR.