Friday, April 11, 2008

Japan Tobacco to shut its 9th-biggest cigarette plant in Japan

TOKYO - Japan Tobacco Inc., the country's largest cigarettesmaker, has decided to close down its cigarette plant in Ishikawa Prefecture, the ninth-biggest of its 10 cigarette factories, as a response to falling domestic demand, the company said Thursday.

Japan Tobacco has been expanding its cigarettes sales outside Japan, as well as its other business operations such as food and pharmaceuticals, to compensate for shrinking business opportunities in Japan, where the population is aging and an anti-smoking campaign is gaining ground.

The 35-year-old plant in Ishikawa produced 7.4 billion cigarette sticks in the year ended March 2007.
Japan Tobacco did not provide a figure for the total volume of its cigarette production nationwide.

The company sold a total of 174.9 billion cigarettes in Japan in the year to March 2007, down 6.4 percent from a year earlier.

Japan Tobacco has yet to assess the financial impact of the planned factory closure, it said.