TOKYO – A major water leak in central Japan on Wednesday disrupted supplies to more than 130 companies near the Toyota Motor Corp. manufacturing center.
The accident at the heart of Japan’s industry threatened disruptions at major auto and energy companies.
A Toyota spokesman said the company is using well water in its factories to cope with the shutdown. JERA, Japan’s largest power generator, said water supplies had been cut at two factories.
The major spill occurred earlier in the day at the Meiji irrigation works and impacted supplies to the Anjo water treatment plant in central Japan’s Aichi prefecture, according to a statement from officials. The outage impacted supplies to 131 companies, mainly in the automotive sector, the statement said.
Authorities aim to resume water supplies by the end of Wednesday through the use of temporary pumps and other emergency measures, Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.
The incident has not affected households, he added.
The cause of the leak was still under investigation and workers tried to stop the flow by pouring crushed stone into the affected area, an official from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said during an online briefing.
Toyota could operate as usual on Wednesday and monitor the situation after that, the spokesman said.
Denso Corp, a major supplier to Toyota, said five of its plants in the area had tapped water storage to continue operations. It would deploy water supply trucks and use well water if necessary, a company spokesperson said.
Some major assembly lines at Toyota’s plants in the area had already planned to suspend production ahead of the water supply problem, due to a shortage of parts due to the COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai.
Toyota Industries Corp. said five of its factories were conserving water and using storage water to get around the industrial water supply problem.
Osaka Gas Co has suspended operations at two thermal power plants in Nagoya over water supply disruptions, a spokesman said. (Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama, Kiyoshi Takenaka, Rocky Swift and Yuka Obayashi; editing by Bradley Perrett and Jason Neely)
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