JFE Steel Shuts Last Blast Furnace at Keihin District
Tokyo, Sept. 17 (Jiji Press)--JFE Steel Corp. shut down the last blast furnace at its East Japan Works' Keihin District on Saturday, in the face of shrinking domestic demand for steel and growing competition from Chinese steelmakers.
The shutdown of the blast furnace with a history of more than 100 years marks a major turning point for the major Japanese steelmaker.
Japanese steelmakers face the challenge of resolving their overproduction systems amid declining steel demand reflecting a decrease in the country's population.
The halt of operations of the blast furnace is "a structural reform step" at the Keihin District in the city of Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, eastern Japan, in the words of JFE Steel Executive Vice President Masashi Terahata. The company hopes to reduce fixed costs by 45 billion yen by fiscal 2024 through the shutdown.
The site for the blast furnace will be converted for a facility for the imports of hydrogen, seen as a new energy source which does not emit carbon dioxide during combustion, in line with growing moves for decarbonization in society.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]