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Japan’s diaper industry moves from infants to adults

A Japanese diaper manufacturer has declared that it will concentrate on the adult market and cease making diapers for infants in the country.

Japan's diaper industry moves from infants to adults

Japan’s diaper industry moves from infants to adults

With fertility rates at an all-time low and Japan increasingly aging, Oji Holdings is the latest company to undertake such a move.

For a period exceeding ten years, the nation’s sales of adult diapers exceeded those of infant diapers.

In 2023, there were 758,631 births in Japan, a 5.1% decrease from the year before.

Since the 19th century, there have been fewer births in Japan than ever before. That number was above two million in the 1970s.

According to a statement from Oji Holdings, 400 million baby diapers are presently produced annually by its subsidiary, Oji Nepia. Since 2001, when the company reached its peak production of 700 million diapers, production has been declining.

The largest diaper manufacturer in Japan, Unicharm, claimed in 2011 that sales of adult diapers had overtaken those of infant diapers.

In the meantime, the market for adult diapers has expanded and is currently valued at over £2 billion (£1.6 billion). Nearly 30% of the people in Japan are 65 years of age or older, making it one of the oldest countries in the world. For the first time, the percentage of people over 80 exceeded 10% in the previous year.

Oji Holdings added that it will keep producing diapers for infants in Indonesia and Malaysia, where it anticipates increased demand.

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