Japan’s economy ministry has said it will set up a team including the country’s automakers and suppliers to discuss measures to minimise any impact from the coronavirus outbreak on its auto industry.

The joint council will share information and offer any necessary financing and policy support if the situation worsens, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a statement. The ministry is working with the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association and Japan Auto Parts Industries Association.

The group will monitor developments and coordinate communication, and work with the Japanese government on measures to ensure the smooth flow of components through supply chains, the statement said.

The Japanese economy suffered its biggest contraction since 2014 at the end of last year, leaving it in a vulnerable state – even before the coronavirus crisis impacted some sectors of industry dependent on imports from China. A sharp drop in consumer spending after a sales tax hike is seen as the main cause of the Japanese economic slowdown.