Japanese automakers’ relief efforts to help victims of the country’s massive Great Tohoku Kanto earthquake as some are now referring to it, have topped nearly US$18m.

According to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) its eight auto, four commercial and two motor cycle constructors have rallied to contribute the sum as vast swaths of the country remain short of basic food and medical supplies.

“The latest information is around JPY1.4bn – it is support for the victims [from] member companies,” a JAMA Europe spokesman in Brussels told just-auto.

Just how fluid the situation remains in the country was illustrated by the spokesman, who highlighted the difficulty of collating up-to-date information.

“We are in conditions of confusion,” he said, as the latest exact details surrounding JAMA members’ factories are still not precisely known.

The spokesman added one member was experiencing a “very difficult situation” in Europe due to the shortage of parts supply from Japan, although he conceded: “It is maybe similar for all manufacturers.”

A statement from JAMA in Tokyo earlier this week noted automakers had responded to the Japanese government’s request to treat securing electricity supply as the top priority.

“In line with that request, they are striving to reduce power consumption at their facilities to the greatest possible degree,” said JAMA chairman Toshiyuki Shiga.

Toyota yesterday (16 March) told just-auto it was operating a strict policy of light rationing at its Tokyo headquarters, meaning its car showroom in the first floor lobby was in darkness all day.