Japan carmakers in China partly shut over protests, chems restart

20 September 2012 13:03  [Source: ICIS news]

TOKYO (ICIS)--Some Japanese car makers based in China, including Toyota, kept their plants shut on Thursday because of ongoing anti-Japanese protests in the country, while chemical producers have restarted operations, according to industry sources.

Public demonstrations in China followed Japan’s move to nationalise the islands that are also being claimed by China. The islands are called Senkaku in Japan, and Diaoyu in China.

Due to concerns that protests would escalate this week - especially on Tuesday 18 September, as this date in 1931 marked the start of Japan’s occupation of northeastern China - Japanese carmakers including Toyota, Mazda and Honda suspended operations of their assembling factories in China.

“We have plants which are operating, and ones which are suspended. Whether to operate [the plants] or suspend is decided by each business unit [in China],”a Toyota spokeswoman said in Japanese on the phone.

She said the company has halted operations of some of its three assembling plants in Tianjin, Shichuan and Guangdong on 17 September, after a Toyota dealership was burned down in a protest in Tsingtao, Shandong, but declined to disclose which plants have since restarted.

Toyota’s Tokyo head office did not know when the currently suspended plant or plants may be restarted. The spokeswoman added: “It’s also decided by individual business units.”

The company expected that the suspension of the plants will influence car sales, the spokeswoman said.

Carmaker Mazda also stopped operation of its plant in Nanjing, Jiangsu, on 18 September, but it was restarted the next day, according to a company source.

Car producer Honda suspended operations at its five plants in Guangdong and Hubei on 18-19 September, and three of them were restarted on Thursday, a company spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, Japanese chemical producer Mitsui Chemicals had also restarted its two plants in Guangdong by 19 September.

Other major Japanese chemical producers Mitsubishi Chemical and Asahi Kasei were not affected by the anti-Japan protests in China, and they continued to operate their plants normally, sources from both companies said.

By: Tomomi Yokomura
+65 6780 4359

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