The fundamental policy of the Group is to develop high value-added products based on superior technologies. In order to realize this goal, the Group has designated as top priority R&D focusing on organic compounds for the chemicals business, and the leveraging of this technology to expand operations into fields related to the environment.
Following is an overview of research and development activities by business segment during the consolidated fiscal year under review. R&D expenses totaled ¥5.049 billion, equivalent to 3.7% of consolidated net sales, and 409 Group personnel engaged in R&D activities, accounting for 15.7% of all employees.

Chemicals business


  Organic and related products
(1)   Agro Products Division
Food safety has recently grown more visible as a major social issue, and the Company conducts research into the development of highly safe agrochemicals for gardening and agriculture that are effective even in small amounts.
The Division´s new fungicide NF-149 is highly effective against mildew in wheat, barley, vegetables and fruit trees. In Europe the product is currently under review prior to approval, while in Japan it was approved in December 2003 and as a premix under the brand name PANCHO-TF has shown steady sales growth.
(2)   Specialty & Performance Chemicals Division
With regard to pharmaceuticals and intermediates, penem and carbapenem antibiotics are currently being researched.
In dyes, a new developer is currently under review prior to approval for commercial use under the so-called Kashinho (Law Concerning the Examination and Regulation of Chemical Substance Manufacture and Handling).
As for functional polymers, new resins for semiconductor photo resists are being researched.
Sulfur, phosgene and cyanide derivatives R&D is also in the works for highly functional products/intermediates covering a wide variety of fields.
Additionally, in order to enhance the competitiveness of existing products including Methionine (feed additive), processes have been improved and a gradual reduction in costs has been achieved.
2.   Eco-business products
In the eco-business front, a new slime remover for bathroom was launched that used the properties of inclusion technology, and next proceeded to tap the market for BISTRATOR (photo catalyst). It also marketed a new heavy metal chelating agent while continuing to develop its related products.
A PCB dechlorination technology using a metal sodium dispersants has enabled electric power companies to start processing their PCB materials. This system has been extended to treatment businesses in various locations nationwide and is gaining acceptance for commercial use.
R&D expenses in the chemical business were ¥5.030 billion.

Other businesses

We are encouraging research and development concerning the effective utilization of industrial wastes resulting from a range of processes. R&D expenses in this segment were ¥19 million.