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Japan car, motorcycle industries disrupted by earthquake

POSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 20 April 2016

JAPAN automotive giants Honda, Nissan and Toyota have temporarily halted production in some of their home-market plants following the earthquake that has devastated parts of the southern island of Kyushu.

The companies have all had temporary stoppages to assess the damage to a number of sites after a magnitude-6.2 quake hit the area on April 14, ahead of a more powerful magnitude-7.0 earthquake that struck on April 16.

Plant closures come amid energy shortages in Japan which are seeing rolling blackouts affect the country. In addition to fuel shortages caused by a damaged infrastructure, damage to nuclear power plants has been severe, impacting the country’s ability to provide electricity.

Toyota Motor Corporation said in a statement that due to parts shortages resulting from the earthquake, it would suspend production on vehicle assembly lines between April 18 and April 23, with a decision on recommencement to be made “on the basis of availability of parts”.

A number of Toyota factories are impacted, including plants in Takaoka, Tsutsumi, Tahara and Motomachi as well as Toyota group plants such as the Daihatsu factory in Kyoto and the Hino facility in Hamura, GoAuto reported.

Nissan said in a statement that its Kyushu facility suspended its weekend work days on April 16 and 17, reopening on Monday April 17.

Honda announced that it has halted work at its Kumamoto factory from April 14 until April 22 to assess for any damage, with ongoing production plans to be determined “according to facility restorations and component supply”.

All three companies have donated millions of yen as well as emergency support equipment as earthquake relief efforts ramp up.

Honda has also closed its motorcycle plant at Hanamatsu and Suzuki also announced closure of all its factories last week to check for damage.

The death toll from the earthquake stands at 42, with 10 people still missing and approximately 196,000 people evacuated.

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