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issue: January 2006 APPLIANCE Magazine

Tokyo Report
Home Heating Appliances in Japan

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by Wasaku Ishida, Japan Correspondent, and president, JARN (Japan Air Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News)

Home comfort appliance producers in Japan are increasingly promoting heat pumps for use as a heating appliance as well as an air-conditioning appliance. The heating capabilities of heat pump air-conditioners are being enhanced for this application.

Also gaining popularity in Japan is floor heating, which uses hot water to circulate the heat. A room air-conditioner (RAC) that is equipped with a water heating function is used to generate the hot water. Daikin and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. (Melco) are major producers of these systems. Toshiba Carrier recently joined the market by developing a RAC with a water heating function.
Kerosene space heater shipments are expected to hold steady from fiscal 2004 and 2005. According to the Japan Industrial Association of Gas & Oil Appliances, 3.27 million kerosene space heaters were shipped during the 2004 fiscal year (April 2004 to March 2005). This reflects a 5-percent decrease from 2003.

Shipments of kerosene space heaters have seen a gradual downturn in recent years since recording shipments of 4.03 million units in 2000, and they are predicted to stay flat, shipping 3.23 million units, in fiscal 2005. In terms of value, the market size is holding steady at 45 billion yen to 50 billion yen (approx. U.S. $373 million to $414 million).

Corona released 21 models of kerosene space heaters, including the HiX high-end heater equipped with a "deodorizing shutter" on the hot-air discharge port. The shutter closes fully when the unit extinguishes its fire, to confine odors within the heater. By increasing its product offering, the company is striving to secure more than a 40-percent share of the total market for this season.

Toyotomi launched seven fan-driven kerosene heater models engineered to realize higher safety and energy-saving features by means of a new control system that uses the world's first "person perception sensor." The sensor causes the heater to automatically shift to a lower level of combustion when it detects no human presence for about 10 minutes.

Hot water room heaters offered by Fujitsu General and other manufacturers are drawing attention. Because the heaters produce hot water from an outdoor unit and circulate it through the indoor heat exchanger, the units are said to avoid causing room air pollution and indoor exhaust gas odor. Sales are estimated at 30,000 units in 2005 and 29,000 units in 2004.


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