Laser applications in the first 50 years in Japan

Laser materials processing technology in the first 50 years in Japan, which is one of the most advanced countries in terms of industrial applications in this field, is overviewed since the first commercial CO2 laser appeared in 1968. The trend of main lasers for materials processing in Japanese industry is discussed based on the number of the lasers appeared in Congress of Advanced Laser Materials Processing (LAMP) along with government supported three national projects. Selected inductrial applications of laser materials processing at different phases in the market life cycle are described, which include introduction, growth, maturity and decline. Features of laser materials processing in Japan are also discussed through different recent laser applications.