Vehicle manufacturers to cut output at plants

Kyodo News

Hino Motors Ltd. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. joined six other automakers Sunday in announcing a temporary suspension of domestic production due to difficulty procuring parts following Friday’s massive earthquake, company officials said Sunday.

Also Sunday, the government urged large companies to limit electricity use amid fears of supply disruptions in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, which has crippled nuclear power plants in the northeast.

The automakers will suspend production staring Monday. Other automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., have also decided to close their plants Monday due to difficulties in procuring parts.

Hino, the Toyota group’s truck and bus unit, will suspend output Monday at all of its three plants in Tokyo and Gunma prefectures, but has not decided when to resume operations, officials said.

Mitsubishi Motors said it will suspend production at all three of its plants that make finished cars Monday and Tuesday because it is unable to fully assess the situations faced by its five or six parts manufacturers in the Tohoku region.

The Mitsubishi plants subject to closure are in Aichi, Okayama and Gifu prefectures. The automaker has not decided whether to resume production on Wednesday or later.

Nissan Motor Co., Daihatsu Motor Co., Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. and UD Trucks Corp. have also decided to suspend production at their plants Monday.

Meanwhile, Yoshikatsu Nakayama, parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, asked in a meeting with officials of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), the nation’s biggest business lobby, that companies cut back on the use of air conditioners, lighting and hot-water supply for business purposes and neon lighting at night.

Nakayama also requested that manufacturers consider shifting production to areas outside the damaged regions in Tohoku and Kanto, and won the cooperation of Nippon Keidanren.

Yoshio Nakamura, director general of Nippon Keidanren, said, “We would like to convey the request to member companies and those concerned,” adding, “We’d like the government to make all-out efforts now to help people who are affected by the disaster.”