Businesses halt operations as they assess damage to manufacturing plants

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Some of the biggest Japanese manufacturers have halted operations as they assess damages produced by the two major earthquakes that hit the manufacturing region of Kumamoto, in south-western Japan, at the end of last week.

Mitsubishi, Fujifilm, Sony, Bridgestone, Honda and Toyota are some of the companies whose production plants and supply chains were affected by the two powerful quakes that killed more than 40 people, injured over a 1,000 and caused extensive destruction to buildings, roads, bridges and railways. Most of them have now halted operations as they look into the extent of the damage and work to confirm the safety of their employees.

Toyota, the world’s biggest car manufacturer, said: “Due to parts shortages resulting from the severe earthquakes that struck Japan’s island of Kyushu on April 14 and after, Toyota will suspend production on its vehicle assembly lines in stages between April 18 and 23.”

The week-long suspension is expected to lead to a drop in production of about 50,000 vehicles, according to industry analysts, and operations will only recommence when Toyota’s suppliers are able to start sourcing parts again, which might mean they will have to shift production to other facilities at home and abroad.

Giant electronic manufacturer Sony was also assessing damage during the weekend, as its smartphone image sensors factory was badly damaged, and will for now remain closed.

Furthermore, Honda has suspended production at its motorcycle plant in Kumamoto; Nissan stopped output at its plant in Fukuoka; and Fujifilm also halted production of electronic-display devices at its Kumamoto plant