Toyota, others seeing prolonged disruption from heavy rains

Nao Sano and Tsuyoshi Inajima

Toyota Motor Corp. will extend its factory stoppage through part of Wednesday as the impact of heavy rains in southern Japan continues to ripple through manufacturing facilities in the region.

Toyota Kyushu’s Miyata, Karita, Kokura plants will remain closed Wednesday morning until 11 a.m., in order to ensure the safety of staff and suppliers, spokeswoman Kayo Doi said. Operations at the factories were suspended on Monday as torrential rains battered the southernmost of Japan’s main islands.

Rescue operation is underway following a heavy rain in Kumamura, Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan  Sunday, July 5, 2020. Deep floodwaters and the risk of more mudslides hampered search and rescue operations on Sunday in southern Japan, including at elderly home facilities where more than a dozen perished and scores are still stranded.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is deploying 20,000 Self-Defense Force personnel to help with rescue efforts centering in the the city of Kumamoto, in Kyushu. The torrent caused the Kuma River to break its banks and flood residential areas at multiple locations early Saturday. Evacuations were ordered in some areas. Sony Corp. has major semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the region, but they weren’t affected.

A car leans against a building following a heavy rain in Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan Monday, July 6, 2020.

The following companies also reported disruptions to their operations:

Mazda Motor Corp. kept its Ujina and Hofu plants halted Tuesday to ensure employees’ safety, says spokeswoman Fumie Tachikake. The automaker is monitoring the situation in case it needs to alter plans to operate as usual on Wednesday.

Daihatsu Motor Co.’s Oita and Fukuoka plants suspended night shift operations Tuesday.

Bridgestone Corp. halted operations at three factories as of Tuesday, according to spokesman Masashi Taniguchi.

Denka Co., a Toyota supplier, halted operations at Omuta plant and its subsidiary, Kyushu Plastic Industry, since the evening of Monday due to rain and flooding, the company said in a statement. Denka will inspect the factories from Wednesday while watching weather conditions, and will resume operations once safety checks are done, it said.

Canon Inc. shut its Nagasaki plant Tuesday due to heavy rain and traffic disruption, a spokesperson said.