Death toll from Japan quake hits 44, power supply, Toyota output disrupted
* Death toll from Thursday's quake rises to 44, with 660
* Govt asks for 20 percent energy saving in Hokkaido
* Toyota working to resume Hokkaido parts plant during night
* Toyota suspends work at 16 of 18 Japan assembly plants
* Toyota says to fully resume assembly by Thursday
(Updates with Toyota's production plans, paragraph 9)
By Kaori Kaneko and Osamu Tsukimori
TOKYO, Sept 10 (Reuters) - The death toll from a powerful
earthquake in northern Japan last week rose to 44, with 660
injured, the government said on Monday, as electricity supply
remained short and top automaker Toyota suspended work at most
of its assembly plants.
The pre-dawn, 6.7-magnitude quake on Thursday temporarily
paralysed the island of Hokkaido, cutting off access by air and
train and knocking out power to an island the size of Austria.
About 2,500 people remain in evacuation centres, according
to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, after landslides
buried houses and rain at the weekend loosened soil in a further
threat to unstable houses.
Yoshihide Suga, the top government spokesman, said a team of
about 40,000 Self-Defense Force troops, police, firefighters and
others were working on clearing debris and other clean-up
operations. There were no more missing residents, he said.
Power supply has been restored to nearly all customers in
Hokkaido but trade minister Hiroshige Seko called on the
island's businesses and 5.3 million residents to use about 20
percent less energy to prevent further blackouts.
"It's very important now for all residents, businesses, the
government, and electricity suppliers to work together towards
this goal of 20 percent energy-saving," Seko told a news
conference late on Sunday.
The government has no plans for rolling blackouts on Monday
and Tuesday despite the continued closure of a fossil fuel-fired
power plant that supplies about half the island's power, he
With electricity restored, Toyota Motor Corp said
on Monday its parts factory in Tomakomai, Hokkaido, which builds
transmissions and other components, was preparing to resume
production during the night shift.
However, the fallout has already spread beyond the island,
with Toyota suspending production at 16 of its 18 domestic car
assembly plants on Monday to assess its parts inventory. The
automaker said it would gradually restore production from
Tuesday, resuming work fully by Thursday.
(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko, Maki Shiraki, Osamu Tsukimori
Writing by Chang-Ran Kim
Editing by Paul Tait)
First Published: 2018-09-10 05:14:09
Updated 2018-09-10 07:16:39
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