Content - SCCIJ Kansai tours Novartis factory in Sasayama

  • October 23, 2017

SCCIJ Kansai tours Novartis factory in Sasayama

Tokyo (SCCIJ) – A group of guests and members of the SCCIJ has enjoyed the annual Kansai event which this year consisted of a tour of the Novartis/Ciba-Geigy factory in Sasayama (Hyogo), a visit to the city of Sasayama as well as a dinner at Swissôtel Nankai in Namba (Osaka). The SCCIJ is organized in the two chapters of Kansai and Kanto and organizes annually a larger event in the Osaka region. Several members of the Embassy of Switzerland in Japan including Ambassador and SCCIJ Honorary President Jean-François Paroz also participated in this year’s event.

SCCIJ group at Sasayama castle

Introduction by Novartis plant head

The participants of the SCCIJ Kansai event were cordially welcomed by Michael Mroczek, President of the SCCIJ, at the Novartis plant. He thanked Mark Torii, President of Novartis Holding Japan, and his team of the Sasayama factory for organizing the special tour of the facility. Following a welcome address by Swiss Ambassador Paroz, the event started with a presentation by the plant head, Dr. Stefan Sharpe.  

He outlined the Novartis Group business worldwide and in Japan and Sasayama in particular. With sales of US$ 48.5 billion and 118,000 employees, Novartis is one of the world’s largest companies and headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. The Novartis Group in Japan consists of Novartis Pharma K.K., Sandoz K.K. and Alcon Japan K.K. Novartis. Novartis Pharma, which is headquartered in Tokyo, was established in April 1997 through a merger of Ciba-Geigy Japan and Sandoz Japan.

Well prepared and protected: SCCIJ Kansai group at the Novartis Sasayama plant (click to enlarge)

Well prepared and protected: SCCIJ Kansai group at the Novartis Sasayama plant (click to enlarge)

Factory with 41 years of history

Accordingly, the history of the 41-year-old Sasayama factory as the only Novartis plant in Japan is connected with Novartis predecessor Ciba-Geigy (which is still one of the legal entities of the Holding in Japan). The plant was already built in 1976 and began its operation the same year. Its main purpose is the inspection and packaging of pharmaceuticals to the Japanese market. From 1979, antibiotics and from 1985 suppository pharmaceuticals were packaged. In 1998, the site was integrated with the former Sandoz site in Kawagoe (Saitama).  

Over the last twenty years, the packaging and inspection operation in Sasayama has been widened successively. For example, a new solid blister line was established in 2007. Solid bulk imports from Singapore started in 2010. In 2015, a new quality control building was constructed. In 2017, inhalation primary packaging equipment was qualified and installed. This state of the art equipment is now operational in the newly built building as of June of this year.

SCCIJ Kansai group in front the Novartis plant in Sasayama (Hyogo) (click to enlarge)

SCCIJ Kansai group in front the Novartis plant in Sasayama (Hyogo) (click to enlarge)

Rare opportunity for factory visit

For the tour of the Sasayama facility, all participants had to wear personal protective clothes consisting of an overall, caps, shoes and glasses and were instructed about the specific safety requirements. On the guided tour of the various assembly lines, the guests gained a very good insight in the factory's business and learned a lot about its importance for Novartis in Japan. After the tour, the group did some sightseeing of the historic part of Sasayama including the 400-year-old Sasayama Castle. A guide explained the history of the local area and the castle. 

For the second part of the event, the participants transferred by bus to "TAVOLA 36" at Swissôtel Nankai where they were joined by additional guests only able to attend the dinner part. In his kanpai speech, Swiss Ambassador Paroz stressed the importance of the Swiss Embassy's and the SCCIJ's activities in the Kansai area and thanked all guests for their active participation. At the gourmet Mediterranean dinner, the lively discussions about the day’s experiences and related topics continued well until the late evening.  


Text: Martin Fritz and Dieter Sommerhalder for SCCIJ; Photos: Novartis

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