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Yen Freefall Has Fewer Benefits for Japan Inc. As Economy Shifts

  • Yen’s fall no longer a clear benefit to most manufacturers
  • Fast Retailing CEO says it’s hard to pass on higher costs

SoftBank Group Corp. and video game makers are emerging as rare beneficiaries of a weaker yen, which no longer offers the clear advantage to Japan’s corporate sector it did a decade ago.

Automakers and electronics makers including Sony Group Corp. once welcomed a softer yen for bolstering their competitiveness abroad and inflating the value of their repatriated profits. But after shifting production overseas in recent years to secure growth and resilient supply chains, many of them see a mixed, or mostly neutral, effect from the yen’s freefall to 20-year lows, according to industry executives and analysts.