Japanese auto-parts maker Yazaki closes Samoa plant
SAMOA’S largest private employer, Japanese auto parts maker Yazaki, is closing its Apia factory with the loss of 740 jobs – a major blow for the tiny Pacific nation.
Yazaki blamed knock-on effects from the shutdown of Australia’s car industry for the closure, which will be completed by the end of next year.
It cited “the competitive, fastchanging, automotive business environment, such as the withdrawal of the ... automotive manufacturing sector within Australia”.
Yazaki, which specialises in wiring harnesses, has operated in Samoa for 25 years, bringing muchneeded manufacturing jobs to the developing South Pacific nation of 200,000 people.
But with the Australian car industry in seemingly terminal decline, it has no market for its products. Yazaki Samoa president Craig O’Donohue said the company had looked at diversifying away from car parts in a desperate bid to remain open.
“We put together a crazy summary of business opportunities, including making flour from breadfruit ... but we just couldn’t find anything viable,” he said. –