Output in October by Japanese carmakers fell 48.9% year on year to 150,386 units as they suffered the fallout from the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea.
Figures released by the companies showed that Toyota production fell 61.1% to 30,591 units; Nissan was down 44% to 61,360 and Honda down 54.2% at 25,302.
Mitsubishi (down 84.6%)m Suzuki (down 32.6%) and Mazda (down 27.6%) were also badly hit.
Toyota saw exports to China from Japan - mostly Lexus models - collapse by 91.3% to 800 units while Mazda exports were zero, from 440 a year ago.
But there was some relief in the data.
Overseas production by Japan’s eight major carmakers rose 14.6% to 1.31m vehicles with Toyota reporting a rise of 12.9% to a record 430,041 while Honda also had a record month overseas, with production up 20.2% to 266,076 as demand in the US rose 29.1% to 118,599 units, also a record.