Again, my thanks.
The article I excerpted from above came from a Japanese newspaper, and
as with your other question, I can't reproduce it in full, since it is
However, here's the citation and some additional excerpts...a good
librarian (especially with access to Lexis-Nexis) should be able to
find you a complete copy:
The Daily Yomiuri
October 31, 1995
Japanese firms lead in disposable-diaper technology
...More than 10 years ago, the infant diaper industry realized that
diapers needed upgrading ...At the forefront were Kao Corp. and Uni
Charm Corp. which developed super-absorbent diapers, spurred on by the
success of Japanese chemical companies in developing super-absorbent
resins....The phenomenal success of the new diapers in Japan
encouraged U.S. giants Procter & Gamble Inc. and Kimberley-Clark Corp.
to follow suit. As a consequence of this early technological lead,
Japanese chemical companies still dominate the global disposable
market despite the yen's appreciation.
...In 1965, the Northern Research Laboratory of the U.S. Agriculture
Department developed a petrochemical-derived resin nicknamed "super
slurper," which was capable of absorbing 500 times its deadweight in
liquid....This development inspired many major U.S. chemical companies
to develop their own ultra-absorbent resins, even though the only
application for the product at the time was feminine hygiene products.
...In 1978, Sanyo Chemical and Kao received approval from the Health
and Welfare Ministry to use their super-- absorbent resin in the
manufacture of sanitary napkins. In 1980, the toxic shock syndrome
(TSS) panic occurred in the United States...Strict product liability
laws and the suspicion that superabsorbents caused TSS were enough to
persuade the big U.S. chemical companies to close their
super-absorbent research projects.
...In 1982, as the dust settled on TSS, Uni Charm and Kao launched
diapers using super-absorbent polymers in Japan.
Let me know if there's anything more I can do for you on this.