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Nippon Steel mulls further production cuts

Nippon Steel plans to freeze production at a blast furnace at its plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, near Tokyo, the latest example of its efforts to deal with overcapacity in Japan.

With an earlier decision to halt three other blast furnaces, the steelmaker will cut its domestic capacity by 20%.

While demand from automakers is increasing, overcapacity remains an issue for the company. Furthermore, Nippon Steel is under pressure to reduce its use of blast furnaces, which emit large amounts of carbon emissions, as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pushes Japan toward carbon neutrality.

The production freeze, which is to take place within several years, is planned for one of two blast furnaces at the Ibaraki plant. By simple calculation, the blast furnace accounts for about 10% of the group's total production capacity.