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[Corona ni Makeruna] TOTO Brings Japan’s Healthy Toilet to the World of ‘New Normal’

Have you ever been intrigued by Japanese toilets with their hands-free comforts? They may soon be in your neighborhood, too, as the pandemic expands demand for wellness with style.

Keita Ozawa

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TOTOs CLEANOVATION concept shows off the companys health and cleanliness technology for the post-corona home. (Photo courtesy of TOTO Ltd.)

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Toto Ltd., a major Japanese home fixtures company renowned for its hands-free, hot water personal “washlet” toilets, is taking this Japanese household fixture to a new level in overseas markets. 

On April 28, TOTO announced its “CLEANOVATION as Key Strategy for New Normal Way of Life and Highlights Entry into Wellness Sector”. The launch by the worlds largest plumbing manufacturer is accompanied by long-term goals to increase its overseas sales ratio to 50% in the global housing equipment sector by fiscal year 2030, from 25% of the company’s sales in FY2020. 

As demand for renovations is increasing in Japan due to population decline and other factors, the construction of new housing is expected to decrease. The company therefore plans to expand the overseas market for its “wellness toilets”. 

The company set its group’s overall sales goals for FY 2030 at more than ¥900 billion JPY ($8.2 billion USD), compared with ¥577.8 billion JPY ($5.27 billion USD) in FY 2020. Its operating margin is also expected to rise to 10% or more, compared to 6.9% in FY 2020.

Moreover, in order to realize a sustainable society, Toto will increase the composition ratio of environmentally friendly products such as those to save water and energy, from 69% in FY2020 to 78% in FY2030. The company also revealed a target to reduce CO2 emissions from its business sites to 250,000 tons, compared with 357,000 tons in FY2018.

Furthermore, the group disclosed its “Med-term Management Plan” for fiscal years  2021 to 2023 to obtain its long-term plan. The company aims to achieve net sales of ¥720 billion and operating income of ¥80 billion in FY 2023.

Of the sales front, the domestic housing business is expected to rise by 11% to ¥465 billion JPY ($4.25 billion USD) from FY2020, while the overseas housing business is likely to increase by 45% to ¥200 billion JPY ($1.8 billion USD).

To cope with the growing demand of washlets overseas, the company plans to invest ¥56 billion JPY ($511.3 million USD) over three years to expand its factories, mainly in the U.S. in addition to China. 

In response to heightened hygiene awareness in Japan due to the spread of COVID-19, the company will actively launch value-added products, such as no-contact faucets and digital technology.

“At present, we have raised this [strategy] as a banner to be shared by all employees,” said Executive Vice President Satoshi Shirakawa speaking at a press conference in Kitakyushu, where the group has its head office. “The future contains many unknown factors. But we will assess the situation each fiscal year and correct what needs to be fixed,” he said.

Toto announced on April 28 its consolidated financial results for the fiscal year ended March 2021, with net sales of ¥ 580.9 billion JPY ($5.3 billion USD), down 2.6% from the previous fiscal year. Net profits, however, rose 15.3% to ¥27.1 billion JPY ($247.5 million USD).

Although renovations were strong in the housing business in Japan,  income and profit dwindled due to the effects of COVID-19. 

On the other hand, overseas sales and earnings rose 1.8 times from the previous fiscal year, boosting overall profit, thanks to a recovery in demand in China and an increase in washlet sales in the North American market, which includes the U.S. and Canada.

RELATED: The ‘Transparent Toilet’: Tokyo’s Latest Public Innovation



(Read The Sankei Shimbun report in Japanese at this link.)

Author: Keita Ozawa

Keita Ozawa is a reporter in the local office of the Osaka Branch, and he is stationed in Yamaguchi.