Then, Now and the Future: Caterpillar in Japan

July 23, 2019

Caterpillar products and services have been sold across the globe for over 100 years. By the early 1920s, stories begin appearing in company literature about Caterpillar equipment succeeding in Japan. Some notable firsts in Japan include:

  • One hundred years ago, in 1919, the first Japanese customer tour occurred at Holt’s East Peoria Plant in Illinois. 

  • Caterpillar’s other predecessor company, the C.L. Best Tractor Co., sold their equipment through a former Tokyo dealer named Suzuki & Company in 1923.

  • Nine Cat® machines were involved in the effort to push part of a mountain into the sea as part of the Kobe Bay Reclamation Project in 1961. Did you know that this 19.5 million cubic yard job is still one of the largest earthmoving operations that has occurred in Japan? Completed in 1966, it reclaimed a valuable portion of the Kobe Bay and established a new residential and industrial area.

Read more about our history in Japan, including how we won the effort to help our customers complete a major project to reclaim Kobe Bay that project.  

Today in Japan

Today, our Japan team leads in the development of hydraulic excavators for our global customers. Cat Financial also has a presence in region to support local customers. 

Our amazing team in Japan supports STEM efforts – including a new Women’s STEM award that was recently launched in commemoration of Akashi’s 10th anniversary of becoming a Caterpillar company. The team, with the Caterpillar Foundation, also generously gives back to the community. 

Looking to the Future

We are excited about efforts happening in Japan and the incredible history we share. There’s a lot to be proud of – from local teams generously giving back to the community to the development of world-class hydraulic excavators to support of STEM initiatives. 

And, most importantly, we’re looking forward to another 100+ years!

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PODCAST: Meet the Conductor of Akashi

The challenges and rewards of running the “mother plant” for Cat® hydraulic excavators.

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Caterpillar Locations in Japan

In 1963, Caterpillar began operations in Japan through a joint venture with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. 

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