Business

Japanese firms struggle to restart China factories amid COVID-19 outbreak

JIJI

Japanese manufacturers in China are facing challenges getting restarted after the extended Lunar New Year holiday because of restrictions on the movement of people and goods caused by COVID-19.

Mazda Motor Corp. planned to resume operations at a plant in Nanjing Wednesday but postponed the restart until at least Monday due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“We made this decision after considering delays in parts procurement and other factors,” a Mazda official said.

Bridgestone Corp. did the same with its tire plant in Huizhou, citing manpower shortages.

Japan Tobacco Inc. has meanwhile postponed restarts at two of its six manufacturing and sales bases for processed foods.

Some manufacturers, such as Chipmaker Renesas Electronics Corp., have only partially resumed business.

Renesas Electronics’ plants are running at about 50 percent of capacity. Parts maker Kyocera Corp. has reopened its plants as well, but they aren’t fully back to normal operations yet.

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to reopen four vehicle plants as early as Monday, but its suppliers aren’t yet up to speed, which will make it difficult for Japan’s biggest automaker to maintain its supply chains.

The delay in parts from China have begun to affect production in Japan.

Nissan Motor Co. will idle its plant in Kanda, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Friday and Monday, while Yamaha Motor Co. is looking to alternative parts suppliers because it expects its stocks to dwindle starting in March if the China supply disruptions continue.

Some 20,000 Japanese firms import products from China, according to credit research company Teikoku Databank Ltd.

“We’re considering alternative sources of supply to prepare for a situation in which we can’t procure confectioneries made in China,” a senior official at a major convenience store chain said.

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