Japan auto industry vows to protect jobs in coronavirus crisis

by SpeedLux
Tokyo, Japan

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda vowed Friday that the Japanese auto industry would seek to protect jobs globally as it deals with the coronavirus pandemic.

Toyoda, speaking as head of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, stated he was concerned that the Japanese economy might be destroyed before the world can win the fight against COVID-19 coronavirus.

“If our hospitals get overloaded to the point of devastation, then Japan may never be able to recover,” Toyoda stated on an online news conference.

The group that brings together Japanese automakers, which includes Nissan Motor. and Honda Motor, and also parts makers, will set up a special fund to assist those laid off find jobs, Toyoda stated.

Toyoda stated the biggest threat to the industry is the possible loss of skilled employees with their manufacturing and engineering finesse.

Following World War II, Toyota made pots and pans and grew potatoes on farms, Toyoda said, emphasizing automakers’ determination to make practically anything to safeguard jobs and survive.

Like its counterparts in the U.S., Toyota has started making face masks, although they were too wrinkly to be sold and will instead be used at Toyota facilities to decrease demand elsewhere, Toyoda stated.

Japan declared a state of emergency last week as cases have continued to increase, particularly in Tokyo and other urban areas. Japan has about 7,255 coronavirus cases and has seen 102 deaths related to the coronavirus, but the fear is that there may be an exponential increase. The world has 1.8 million confirmed cases.

Toyoda said 3,000 rooms now being used to quarantine auto workers getting back from abroad, could, if needed, be used for other people.

He compared the existing uncertainty and the need to stay home to enduring a long winter. Some assembly plants have stopped production because cars sales are low.

“We are now feeling more than ever that being able to go wherever you want is a truly moving experience,” Toyoda stated.

“We must survive. Or else there can be no spring,” Toyoda added.

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