Japan automakers scale back China production
TOKYO–Japan’s big three automakers shuttered some or all of their factory operations in China on Tuesday amid escalating anti-Japan protests centred on a bitter territorial dispute between the Asian giants.
Honda Motor said it had temporarily closed all five of its China plants after violent demonstrations, while Nissan temporarily shut two of three factories and Toyota said it had scaled back production but did not elaborate.
“We decided to stop production at our automobile factories for today and tomorrow (Wednesday),” a Honda spokesman told AFP, adding that no decision had been made about plant restarts later in the week.
“We can produce cars in the factories, but we are concerned about delivery to the dealers,” he added.
Honda makes about 970,000 vehicles annually at its five China plants, while Nissan counts China as its biggest single market.
“From (Thursday), we will assess the situation to decide what to do,” said Nissan spokesman Christopher Keefe.
“No facility has experienced direct trouble or direct damage. (But) the safety of our personnel is the highest priority.”
Toyota, Japan’s biggest automaker, declined to offer specifics on shutdowns at its three assembly plants and six other factories, saying only that it viewed “employees’ safety to be top priority”.
Each factory “has made its own decision based on an overall understanding of situation to conduct or not conduct operations today”, a Toyota spokesman said.
“Some will operate and some will not.”
Widespread anti-Japanese protests, some of them violent, have been held across China in recent days over the East China Sea islands known as Diaoyu by Beijing and Senkaku by Tokyo. They are claimed by both but controlled by Japan.
A new bout of demonstrations is expected on Tuesday, the anniversary of the 1931 “Mukden incident” that led to Japan’s invasion of Manchuria, which is commemorated every year in China.
China and Japan have close trade and business ties, with numerous Japanese companies investing in their larger neighbour and two-way trade totalling $342.9 billion last year, according to Chinese figures.
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