Toyota says quakes to force production stoppages

by The Associated Press (APR)

ASO, Japan—The latest on the earthquakes in Japan (all times local):

5:35 p.m.

Toyota Motor Corp. says it will shut down the assembly of vehicles in Japan over the course of this week because of parts shortages stemming from the two strong earthquakes that hit the southern part of the country.

The world’s biggest automaker posted the announcement on its website Sunday.

The shutdown will begin on Monday at a factory in Kyushu and progress to other plants in Japan through Friday. Toyota said resumption of operations would depend on the availability of parts.

The earthquakes, which struck Thursday night and overnight Friday, have driven 180,000 people to shelters. Some of the damaged areas are in hard-to-reach mountain areas that have been cut off by landslides blocking roads and bridges that have collapsed.


4:05 p.m.

The U.S. military says it is preparing to provide relief flights to the areas in southern Japan devastated by two powerful earthquakes late last week.

The earthquakes have driven 180,000 people to shelters, and some of the damaged areas are in hard-to-reach mountain areas that have been cut off by landslides blocking roads and collapsed bridges.

The U.S. has major Air Force, Navy and Marine bases in Japan, and stations about 50,000 troops in the country.

Lt. Gen. John Dolan, the commander of U.S. Forces, Japan, said: “We are working closely with the government of Japan to provide assistance and support.”


4 p.m.

A Kumamoto prefecture official says 11 people remain missing from the two earthquakes that struck the region in southern Japan.

She did not have a breakdown, but Japanese media are reporting that eight of the missing are in Minamiaso, a mountainous village near Mount Aso volcano.

Rescue helicopters can be seen going into and out of the area, much of which has been cut off by landslides and road and bridge damage.

Aerial footage from Japanese TV also showed teams of rescuers going through small clusters of destroyed homes and other buildings.


1:30 p.m.

Japanese media say the number of people taking shelter after the two earthquakes in southern Japan has doubled to more than 180,000.

Kyodo news service, citing the Kumamoto prefecture government, says 183,882 people were in shelters in the prefecture on Sunday morning.

On Saturday, there were around 90,000 people.

Many others slept in their cars or sheltered under tarps and other protection overnight.


11:20 a.m.

Search efforts have resumed Sunday morning for about half-a-dozen missing from back-to-back earthquakes that killed 41 people in southern Japan.

The search is focused on debris-strewn communities in a mountainous area near Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the Defence Ministry is co-ordinating with the U.S. military in Japan to add U.S. aircraft to the search and recovery effort.

Landslides from Saturday’s magnitude-7.3 earthquake have blocked roads and destroyed bridges, making it difficult to access the area east of Kumamoto, a city of 740,000 on the southwestern island of Kyushu.

Overnight rainfall did not appear to cause any more landslides, as had been feared, and the skies had cleared by morning.

About 80,000 homes in Kumamoto prefecture still didn’t have electricity Sunday. Japanese media reported that an estimated 400,000 households were without running water.