According to a translated report from Nikkei, Nikon will suspend operations at two of its factories that produce interchangeable lenses come March. Both the Nagai Plant in Nagai City and the Aizu Plant in Tadmi will be consolidated into its one remaining factory in Otawara City.
With the plants closing, Nikon is asking all 108 employees at the Nagai factory and 54 employees at the Aizu factory if they are willing to move to the factory in Otawara City. If it's too difficult to move, Nikon says they will support reemployment. As for the factories, which are owned by the subsidiary TNI Kogyo, the Nagai factory will be sold while the Aizu factory will be returned to the local government.
Nikkei reports that "as the camera market continues to shrink due to the spread of smartphones, the production system will be reviewed to reduce costs."
Nikon already announced it would cut overseas production by 2,000 employees by 2022. It currently manufactures lenses in both Japan and Thailand, with Thailand being its main factory since the 1990s and the Japanese factories focusing on higher-end models like lenses for the Nikon Z mirrorless cameras.
The pandemic has put a ton of strain on companies economically. Nikon expects a deficit of 45 billion yen ($426 million) by March 2021 due to the coronavirus. They also previously announced it would discontinue camera manufacturing in Japan, so the closures don't come as much as a surprise. It's likely a smart move by Nikon to secure its future.
Source: Digital Camera info