IKEA vs Japan’s Old Business – The Battle Begins: Trying to Hammer Down the Nail that Sticks Out

April 27, 2008

With the extremely successful opening of an Ikea store in Kobe, there was a lot of talk about how the old boys, namely the department stores, home centers, and furniture stores were going to handle coming up against a very unique ad campaign, very low prices, and an international brand.

Well, this first, very short article has come out in the Japan Times.

Ikea Japan Told to Modify Manuals

Apparently a guy was hit in the eye by a piece of a screw while putting together a chest of drawers he bought at Ikea.

The suspicious side of me thinks maybe some of the major players in Japan called in some favors and got this story publicized. Otherwise, why would such a tiny thing as the Economy, Trade, and Industry Ministry asking a company to look at their manuals be big national news?

The only time I’ve ever seen a screw break so that parts FLEW was when I was a kid trying to put a screw in with a HAMMER!

If you read to the bottom of the story, the mystery is solved

“The ministry said that the man had used a standard screwdriver on the Phillips screw and that the size of the screwdriver had been inappropriate.”

I suppose now that all of the manuals will specialize the type of screwdriver you use… In the end, the article doesn’t show Ikea do anything wrong, but the title seems designed to give a little negative PR.

I think the battle’s going to heat up though, as other companies try to make Ikea play ball and stay in line… If you want to know more about this kind of thing, feel free to look into all the laws made for car importers in Japan. Have you ever noticed that most non-Japanese cars are dealt through Japanese Car dealerships? Have you noticed that Pepsi is distributed by Suntory here in Japan?

… but I digress.

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