Why the Yahicyo Kogyo Corporate Team Would be Shutting Down Even If the New Year Ekiden Broadcast Hit Hakone Levels of Popularity – The Foreigners magazine In tokyo
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Why the Yahicyo Kogyo Corporate Team Would be Shutting Down Even If the New Year Ekiden Broadcast Hit Hakone Levels of Popularity

Written by on November 18, 2021

an editorial from the Rikujo Tsushin site

The Yachiyo Kogyo corporation has announced that it will be shutting down its men’s ekiden team at the end of the fiscal year because, with an eye toward the company’s future, it needs to reallocate resources elsewhere. Yachiyo Kogyo manufactures resin parts and replacement parts for use in car components and systems like fuel tanks and sun roofs. Its total revenue adds up to  157.2 billion yen [~$1.37 billion USD] annually, with its fuel tank segment making up 44.3 billion yen [~$386 million USD] or roughly 28% of its revenue.

The trend in the automotive world is clearly toward electric vehicles. In Germany and the U.K., sales of new gasoline or diesel-powered automobiles will be banned as of 2030. California will do the same by 2035, with France following suit by 2040. China’s plans call for only hybrid vehicles by 2035. Comparing the manufacture of electric vehicles and internal combustion engine vehicles, the number of parts will decrease from about 30,000 to 20,000 with the shift to electric cars. Since the power source will come from an electric motor, there will no longer be a demand for the fuel tanks that Yachiyo Kogyo manufactures. 

Yachiyo Kogyo manufactures parts for Honda. In October, Honda held an online presentation on its “Chinese Electrification Strategy.” To summarize:

  • By 2030, all its new four-wheeled vehicles sold in China will be either hybrid or electric.
  • Honda Guangqi and Honda Dongfeng will each build new manufacturing plants specifically for electric vehicles. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2024.

With Honda’s move to electric vehicles, the volume of Yachiyo Kogyo’s fuel tank business will decrease. In the light of this major shift in its industry, the company’s decision to cut its ekiden team seems like an inevitability, no matter how hard or sad a decision it may have been. Other teams like Press Kogyo and Aisan Kogyo that are sponsored by car parts manufacturers are sure to be in the same situation, and it wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see them make the same decision. And with the shift away from gas-powered engines, even the teams sponsored directly by the major automobile manufacturers like Honda and Toyota can’t assume that they’re safe.

It used to be said the parent companies of pro baseball teams came from one of three families, newspapers, railways, and movie studios. The Asahi and Sankei newspapers have long since hung up their gloves, leaving just the Yomiuri and Chunichi in the game. Railway companies sponsoring teams have decreased from seven to just two, Hanshin and Seibu. None of the three movie studios that used to have teams are still in the business. In the same way, we’re bound to see the corporations sponsoring ekiden teams change with the times.

Translator’s note: Both Yachiyo Kogyo and Press Kogyo failed to qualify for the New Year Ekiden national championships at the Nov. 3 East Japan Corporate Ekiden, Press Kogyo finishing 14th and Yachiyo Kogyo 16th in the field of 24. The top 12 qualified.

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translated by Brett Larner

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