Toy­ota says its work­ers in­jured in Tian­jin

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Toy­ota on Mon­day said more than 50 em­ploy­ees were in­jured af­ter two gi­ant ex­plo­sions last week in the main­land Chi­nese city of Tian­jin, where the car­maker’s fac­tory lines will re­main closed un­til at least the end of Wed­nes­day.

Pro­duc­tion at Toy­ota’s Tian­jin sub­sidiary — in­clud­ing a fac­tory line 70 kilo­me­ters away that de­pends on parts from the main op­er­a­tion — was halted due to evac­u­a­tions from the city, Toy­ota said.

When the ac­ci­dent hap­pened, Toy­ota’s oper­a­tions had been shut for a week’s sum­mer hol­i­day, with pro­duc­tion due to restart Sun­day, so there was no im­me­di­ate im­pact on pro­duc­tion from the dis­as­ter.

The main Tian­jin fac­tory, which pro­duces sev­eral mod­els in­clud­ing the Corolla and Vios sedan, has about 12,000 em­ploy­ees and man­u­fac­tured 440,000 ve­hi­cles last year.

The deadly blast also dam­aged a pair of Toy­ota deal­er­ships that re­quired them to tem­po­rar­ily close, while some other Ja­panese firms in­clud­ing Pana­sonic and car­maker Mazda re­ported mi­nor dam­age at their oper­a­tions in Tian­jin.

“We have now heard that over 50 em­ploy­ees who live in the sur­round­ing area ... have been in­jured, but we are still ver­i­fy­ing the de­tails re­gard­ing the num­ber of em­ploy­ees in­jured and the ex­tent of the in­juries,” a Toy­ota spokesman in Tokyo said.

“We can con­firm that no deaths have been re­ported.”

As for the “im­pact on im­ports and ex­ports to and from Tian­jin, we are still as­sess­ing the sit­u­a­tion,” he added.

The spokesman said the 50 in­jured were ei­ther Toy­ota em­ploy­ees or Toy­ota-re­lated per­son­nel.

Con­sumer elec­tron­ics gi­ant Pana­sonic said there was mi­nor dam- age to its plant in the in­dus­trial city and that it was halt­ing oper­a­tions Mon­day for safety checks.

“We’ve had some small dam­age at the plant, such as bro­ken win­dows,” a com­pany spokes­woman said.

“Oper­a­tions were halted to­day to do safety checks. We’ve not made a fi­nal de­ci­sion on whether they will restart to­mor­row.”

Mas­sive ex­plo­sions at a chem­i­cal stor­age fa­cil­ity killed more than 100 peo­ple and in­jured over 700, with fire­fight­ers still bat­tling the gi­ant blaze that fol­lowed.

The ac­ci­dent has also raised fears about toxic chem­i­cals poi­son­ing the air, par­tic­u­larly sodium cyanide.

The in­dus­trial zone of Tian­jin, one of main­land China’s big­gest cities with a pop­u­la­tion of 15 mil­lion peo­ple, hosts car plants, air­craft assem­bly lines, oil re­finer­ies and other ser­vice and pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

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