Sony has had an amazing run with their Walkman line of products over the last 25 years, creating a whole new category of products and then dominating it. As competition has continued to increase over the last 10 years, the company has been aggressively cutting manufacturing costs on the products by moving production to Malaysia and China from Japan. In a move that signifies the end of an era, the last Japanese manufacturing facility for Walkmans will be shut down by the end of March in Tokyo.
When the plant in the Saitama prefecture north of Tokyo closes, about 200 jobs will be lost. The facility will still be used as a product design center. This move is part of a major restructuring plan underway within Sony. The plan, which was announced in September, will see the company reduce the number of manufacturing bases they use worldwide from the current 65 down to 54.