Toyota resumes production at all Japan plants
Toyota Motor Corp. resumed car production at all of its plants in Japan today for the first time since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, but said the factories will run at half capacity due to parts shortages.
The world's No. 1 automaker said it was still struggling to secure around 150 types of auto parts. The magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami destroyed parts factories in northeastern Japan, causing severe shortages of components.
The twin disasters forced Toyota to shut down all output in Japan except at three plants, which have been running at limited capacity since late March and early April to produce hot-selling Prius, Lexus and Corolla cars.
The 900 workers at Toyota's auto plant in Miyagi, one of the worst-hit areas in the disasters, observed a minute's silence for tsunami victims before starting work today. The quake and tsunami left nearly 28,000 people dead or missing. In Miyagi alone, police said over 8,400 people have been killed.
Toru Kuzuhara, president of Toyota subsidiary Central Motor Co. Ltd., which operates the Miyagi plant, said he hoped the resumption of auto production would help spur reconstruction efforts in the tsunami-battered region.
"We will make top-quality cars and deliver them to many customers as early as possible. I believe this will lead to broader reconstruction efforts in Miyagi," he said.
Yasuhiro Tadokoro, an official at the Miyagi plant, said he felt relieved that the factory was again running.
"Finally, we can operate our plant. I am so relieved that we can get back to work for the first time since the tsunami," he said.