Japanese car companies have suspended production in the wake of Friday’s earthquake and tsunami which devasted many areas in the north of the country.

Toyota suspended production at all of its plants in through today and Mitsubishi has halted  production at its three domestic assembly plants at least until Wednesday. Honda and Nissan have also temporarily stopped operations while Fuji Heavy Industries, maker of Subaru cars, closed five factories.

Some 2,300 Nissan and Infiniti brand vehicles awaiting shipment to US and elsewhere were damaged when the tsunami swept through the Port of Hitachi.

Toyota has stopped production at more than a dozen assembly plants and parts factories, including body-making subsidiaries in the disaster area, Kanto Auto Works and Central Motors. The company said it will decide when to restart production after assessing damage and the condition of its supply chain.

Carmakers said they have suspended operations partly so employees can regroup with relatives. Many people have gone missing and communications in the disaster area is almost non-existent. Damage to plants also has to be assessed to ensure conditions are safe for a return to work.

Mazda and Suzuki were largely spared from the quake’s effects because their assembly plants are in other areas of the country but they said they are gathering information about the impact on suppliers and distribution systems.

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