Japanese companies are scaling down their operations in South Africa in recognition of the global protest against the African nation's policy of apartheid, officials said Thursday.
Sanyo Electric Co., a major Japanese electronics maker, is considering closing its one-man office in South Africa to join the world protest against apartheid, or racial segregation, in South Africa, a company official said.Sanyo, which began exporting electronics products to South Africa in 1959, also will cut its trading volume with South Africa by 15 percent annually, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. announced earlier this week that it will close its two-man office in Johannesburg early next year, a company official said.
Matsushita, whose products are known by the brand names Panasonic, Technics, or National, has exported air conditioners, microwave ovens and videotape recorders and other electronics products through its local offices, said the official, who requested anonymity. He refused to provide the company's trade volume with South Africa.
Meanwhile, an official of Nissan Motor Co. said the number of cars the company exported to South Africa has been halved in recent years to some 30,000 vehicles a year. Its vehicle exports to South Africa peaked at 61,000 in 1981.
Nissan suspended exports of its four-wheel-drive Safari vans to South Africa at the end of July because authorities were using them to suppress dissident movements there, he said.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution this week that criticized Japan for being South Africa's leading trade partner.
Japan replaced the United States as South Africa's largest trading partner last year with total trade estimated at $4.27 billion.
It exported $1.78 billion worth of products to South Africa during the first 10 months of this year, up about 25 percent over the same period in 1987, while its imports from South Africa totaled $1.61 billion during the period, down 12 percent, a Finance Ministry official said.
There are 60 Japanese companies with staff in South Africa - mostly trading companies and manufacturers, said a Japanese trading company source who refused to be named.