Weak Yen Forces Arri to Temporarily Close Its Japan Office and Service Operations

A modern office waiting area with three beige chairs and a small round table with magazines. A large glass-walled conference room is in the background. A flat-screen TV on the wall displays a black-and-white image of two people using early film equipment. The ARRI logo is visible.

Arri Japan emailed its customers informing them of a temporary closure of its Japan-based offices and service operations, citing a weak yen against the euro.

Arri Japan Kabushiki Kaisha — established in 2019 — is located in Ota ku, Tokyo, which is near Haneda International Airport. As reported by News Shooter, the company cites the cost of imported items being too high to continue operations, at least for now. The weak yen has been a boon for Japan’s tourism and exports, but for companies relying on imported goods, the steady decline of the yen’s value versus the dollar and the euro has significantly hurt business.

“Arri Japan has been facing economic challenges for some time. To address these challenges, and after careful consideration, we have developed a strategic restructuring plan. This decision was made due to the continued depreciation of the yen, which has led to a significant increase in import costs. Our products are primarily imported from Germany, and the disparity between the yen and the euro has put us at a disadvantage compared to other products distributed in Japan,” Arri Japan writes in an email to customers.

“This restructuring plan also includes the temporary cessation of office operations and service activities in Japan, effective July 1, 2024, which is very unfortunate.”

The Japanese facility features a 150-square-meter creative space that can be easily turned into a studio, showroom, or training area. Arri also outfitted the location with a service center capable of handling all Arri camera repair and maintenance for local filmmakers. Both facilities are shuttering — hopefully temporarily — and support is shifting to Arri’s Singapore location.

“However, this does not mean that Arri will withdraw from the Japanese market. Our Country Manager Carlos Chu and Business Development Manager Atsuya Otake will continue to fully support our customers and partners in Japan, and will continue to focus on further business development. In addition, our extensive reseller network in Japan will remain intact and provide local support,” the email continues.

“Going forward, Arri Asia in Singapore will be handling customer needs in Japan. There will be no change to the lens service provided in Japan. Service operations will be handled expertly by our local service partner, in coordination with our expanded service team in Singapore. This means you can rest assured that any service issues will be handled promptly and professionally.”

Arri will also revamp its Japanese website to make it easier to find information about Arri products, furthering its promise not to leave Japan as a market entirely.

The yen is at its weakest point now since at least the 1970s, Reuters reports, despite the first interest rate increase there since 2007 back in March. It has been in steady decline for the last three years. While tourism is extremely high and exporters are doing well, households tend to be net importers and as such, domestic consumption is down.

Image credits: Arri