Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T>, the world’s biggest-selling automaker, said on Sunday it would suspend much of its production at plants across Japan this week after earthquakes in the country’s south led to a shortage of parts, while some other manufacturers extended stoppages due to damage to factories.
The earthquakes on Thursday and Saturday, which killed at least 41 people, reflected the vulnerability of Japanese companies to supply chain disruptions caused by natural disasters, and also highlighted the “just in time” philosophy pioneered by Toyota and followed by many others.
Companies had made efforts to address these problems after a 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which led to a nuclear disaster and nearly 20,000 deaths, badly dented output. The way that companies deal with the impact of the latest quakes will likely show how robust these changes have been. FULL REPORT