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Report: After 41 years Nikon ends domestic camera production, planning move to Thailand: Digital Photography Review

The outside of Nikon’s Sendai Factory.

Japanese publication AERAdot has reported Nikon is ending domestic camera production in Japan. According to the report, Nikon will be moving camera production from its Sendai Nikon factory in the Tōhoku region North of Tokyo to its Thailand factories in an effort to reduce costs.

Nikon’s Sendai factory covers nearly 27,000 square meters and has been running near-continuously since opening in 1971. The first camera to be produced in the facility was the Nikon EM, released in 1979. Since then, the Sendai factory has been the centerpiece for Nikon’s camera and lens production since and provided technical assistance to overseas production.

A Nikon Z7 chassis on the production line in the Sendai Factory.

As of 2018, the last time we visited the Sendai factory, it was being operated by 352 employees who oversaw CNC machining, hands-on construction and quality assurance to ensure every camera and lens that left the factory was thoroughly checked and tested.

In a statement made to AERAdot, Nikon General Manager of Video Division, Hirotaka Ikegami, says the factory will continue to be used as a start-up factory for new business endeavors, with an emphasis on production technology and mobility.

As for camera production in Thailand, Hirotaka Ikegami says the Thai plant (machine-translated) ‘will continue to produce high-performance, high-precision parts required for [camera] products.’

A sensor and VR unit destined for the Z7, combined on a custom jig in the Sendai Factory.

Production of Nikon’s Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras reportedly started its move to the Thailand factory back in October and Nikon’s D6 DSLR is also reported to be moved entirely to the Thai factory by the end of 2021.

We have contacted Nikon for confirmation of this report and further comments on the matter. We will update this article accordingly when we receive a response.

You can look through more images of Nikon’s Sendai factory from our tour review we published back in September 2018.

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