Toyota to suspend output from nine factories in Japan due to earthquake

Earthquake was a magnitude 7.1 aftershock to the Fukushima quake of 10 years ago

A landslide caused by a strong earthquake covers a racetrack in Nihonmatsu city, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, on Sunday. (Kyodo News via AP)


TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp said on Tuesday it will temporarily suspend vehicle production on 14 lines at nine group factories in Japan due to an earthquake that hit Japan's northeast last week.

Domestic factories in five prefectures, including Aichi, Iwate and Fukuoka, will halt productions between Wednesday and Saturday, some for as long as four days. The factories produce models varying from Lexus cars to Harrier SUVs.

While the earthquake had no significant impact on Toyota's factories, it affected some of the automaker's suppliers, causing a delay in parts supply, a spokesman said.

The company did not disclose the number of affected vehicles.

A strong magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture on Saturday, injuring dozens of people and triggering widespread power outages. But there was no threat of a tsunami.

The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which had meltdowns following a massive quake and tsunami 10 years ago, was checking to see whether there were any problems following Saturday's quake. This quake, scientists said, was an aftershock to the massive 9.0 quake of 2011 in which three reactors melted down, releasing radiation into the air and rendering a zone around the plant uninhabitable.

More than 20,000 people died in the 2011 quake, tsunami and aftermath, and 100,000 people were evacutated from the nuclear disaster zone.

Following Saturday's earthquake, there were no immediate reports of irregularities from other nuclear plants in the area, such as Onagawa or Fukushima Dai-ni, government spokesperson Katsunobu Kato told reporters.

The shaking was felt in Tokyo, to the southwest.

The earthquake also added to the global microchip production crisis. Renesas Electronics, a key supplier of automotive semiconductors, said it will restart production at its advanced chip plant in northeast Japan after a quake on Saturday cut power to the facility and shut it down.

A resumption of full output will, however, take a week, which could delay some shipments at a time when customers, particularly carmakers, are struggling with a global chip shortage.

"We will do what we can to ensure there is no disruption to supplies," a Renesas spokeswoman said.

Information from AP was used in this report.


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