According to production statistics released from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the nation’s production of nonwoven fabrics during January-June 2020 decreased by 7.8% year-on-year to 149,324 tons. June nonwoven fabric production decreased for the 25th consecutive month. If production remains at this level, the annual production volume could fall below 300,000 tons for the first time since 2009.
First-half production increased only for thermal-bonded nonwovens, up 4.0% to 19,450 tons, and spunlaced nonwovens, up 1.8%, to 25,738 tons. The production of needle-punched nonwoven fabrics posted the sharpest fall of 17.3% to 29,301 tons. Since needle-punched nonwovens are used mainly for automobiles such as interior materials, the decrease in auto production had an impact on their production.
First-half production of spunbonded/meltblown fabrics decreased by 12.3% to 38,130 tons. Demand for masks grew due to the spread of the coronavirus, while the application in disposable diapers encountered difficulties. Spunbonded/meltblown fabric production grew in May and June over the year before, and the increase in supply for mask application began to appear in the figures. Even for thermal-bonded and spunlaced fabric, the increase in mask application contributed to their production.