Japan vehicles, factories damaged in Tianjin blasts

Japan vehicles, factories damaged in Tianjin blasts
Smoke rises from a yard where now-charred vehicles had been stored for export in Tianjin, China.
PHOTO: Japan News/ANN

Toyota Motor Corp. and other Japanese businesses have reported various damage caused by the huge explosions in the Chinese trading port city of Tianjin on Wednesday night.

If recovery work is protracted, the operations of these Japanese firms may be affected, as many of them have production centers in Tianjin, observers said. According to the Japan External Trade Organization, about 800 Japanese companies operate in Tianjin.

At Toyota's joint-venture compact car manufacturing plant, located about two kilometers from the explosion site, new vehicles stored outdoors were damaged, the company reported. The plant was closed from Sunday with workers on an eight-day summer vacation. Toyota's public relations office said production plans for after the vacation period are still under consideration.

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. reported that more than 100 new vehicles were damaged in a storage yard about two kilometers from the blast site, while Mazda Motor Corp. said glass was damaged in vehicles that were ready for shipment. Mazda also said it closed its showroom in the area on Thursday because the building housing the showroom and the vehicles within had been damaged.

At an Aeon mall also located about two kilometers away from the explosion site, some windows had been broken and a portion of the outer walls had been blown off, the major mall operator said. The blasts occurred outside of its business hours but some employees may have been in the mall, so Aeon is working to confirm whether any of its employees were injured.

It is not yet known when business will be resumed at the mall, Aeon said.

Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. said that at its department store, about four kilometers from the blast site, the ceiling and wall near the entrance on the first floor had been blown off. A crime prevention shutter was said to have been bent by the blast from the explosion.

The major department store chain operator decided to close three hours earlier than usual, at 6 p.m., in anticipation of the possible disruption of transportation services.

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