Nikon Considering Building a New $224M Lens Factory in Japan

Nikon Lenses

Nikon is considering reinvestment in mainland Japan manufacturing through a new expansion of its facility in Otawara City, which currently hosts its only remaining Japan-based optics factory.

Yesterday, multiple publications reported that Nikon would reinvest in Japan and build onto the main factory of its subsidiary Tochigi Nikon, located in Otawara City in the Tochigi Prefecture. The goal would be to expand the production capacity for lenses used in microscopes, cameras, and semiconductor exposure equipment. The reports added that the facility would cost upwards of 30 billion yen (about $224 million) and the company would aim to have the facility start operation in 2026.

While the reports made it sound like plans were already in motion, Nikon tells PetaPixel this is hardly a done deal.

“Yes, it is true that we are considering the construction of a new building,” a Nikon Japan spokesperson tells PetaPixel. “However, at this point, we are at the stage of considering specific details, and have not yet decided to invest as a company.”

Tochigi Nikon
Tochigi Nikon Corporation facility located in Otawara City

The report that spurred the online conversation appears to have been originally published by the Japanese newspaper Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun before disseminating online, but PetaPixel couldn’t confirm this. Considering the project is not final despite what some publications have written, some wires got crossed somewhere along the reporting line.

Nikon Scientists

Nikon Japan did confirm to PetaPixel if the value of the factory construction was accurate nor if the timeline stated in the report was in line with current expectations should the facility be green-lit — but it did not deny these numbers either.

Quite the Turnaround

In 2020 and as Nikon was in the deepest of its financial doldrums, the company pulled the plug on its Japanese camera manufacturing and moved its facilities to Thailand. Less than three months later, Nikon closed two out of its three Japan-based lens manufacturing facilities as well, consolidating its workforce and operations to the factory in Otawara City. Operations at those two other lens facilities ceased in March of 2021.

But now, two years later, Nikon appears to be emerging from its struggles and is at least in a position to be considering going back the other way and expanding its Japan-based manufacturing. The company appears to be doing everything right, and the fact that it is even considering such a huge facility investment is more hard evidence of this.

Image credits: Nikon