The head of Japan's shipbuilding industry says its members face a crisis as business continues to decline due to the pandemic.
Shipbuilders' Association of Japan Chairman Saito Tamotsu made the comment during an online news conference on Monday.
He said, "Chinese and South Korean shipbuilders secure orders helped by strong government backing. But Japanese companies are struggling, and their backlog of orders is decreasing rapidly."
The group says pending orders for shipbuilders in Japan at the end of last month were only about half compared to five years ago.
Saito stressed the need for firms to develop vessels equipped with advanced technologies to enhance their competitiveness in the global market.
Earlier this month, Japan's Diet approved a bill to amend laws to increase support for shipbuilders and shipping companies.
Saito said the association wants the government aid to go to developing self-navigating vessels and those that are more eco-friendly. He added that digitalization at dockyards is another task that needs to be addressed.