Dishwashers are becoming rapidly popular in Japan and are now found in one out of 10 families, according to a survey conducted by an electric appliances producer. Japanese manufacturers expect to ship more than 780,000 dishwashers in this fiscal year.
One discount shop reports that it sells between 20 and 30 dishwashers during weekends, especially popular among customers appear to be young working couples. The city of Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture, which has been troubled by chronic water shortage, now subsidizes the purchase of dishwashers for its residents.
"Some dishwashers are equipped with the latest technology. "Nabe Pika Sara Pika," introduced by Sharp Corp., uses a specially treated hard water made by adding salt and special resin to tap water. The calcium-ion rich water is supposed to clean tough stains such as burnt eggs. Reduced noise is a feature of "Shizupika," introduced by Sanyo Electric Co., which will hit the market on Nov. 21. Sanyo says the machine is "quieter than a library room."
After shipping nearly 360,000 units in fiscal 1996, the Japanese dishwasher market reportedly hit bottom in 1998, selling 290,000 units. The demand has almost doubled since then, after manufacturers introduced smaller products with added functions, shipping 620,000 units in 2001. (Kyodo News)
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