Japan automakers idle domestic output as snow slows parts shipments

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TOKYO (Reuters) -- Japanese carmakers including Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. suspended operations at some domestic plants in central and eastern Japan after heavy snow disrupted their supply chains and prevented workers from commuting.

Heavy snow hit Tokyo and other parts of eastern Japan on Friday and over the weekend, snarling traffic on some of the most heavily traveled roads in the region.

Toyota has suspended operations at four of its plants near its headquarters in central Japan including the Tsutsumi plant, where it makes the Prius, and the Tahara plant, where it makes the Lexus LS, after parts deliveries were disrupted, spokesman Ryo Sakai said.

Toyota has yet to decide when it will resume operations, he said.

Honda, which stopped operations of two plants in eastern Japan on Friday, resumed operations at one of them on Monday, said spokeswoman Eriko Hata. "If the road conditions are better, we can probably resume regular operations on Tuesday," she said.

Fuji Heavy Industries, maker of Subaru cars, suspended on Monday operations at its Yajima plant in eastern Japan, where it makes the Legacy and the Forester among other vehicles, as well as at its engine and transmission plant nearby, said spokesman Shunsuke Koike.

Suzuki Motor Corp. has also also suspended operations at three of its plants in central Japan due to parts supply disruptions, spokesman Hideki Taguchi said. Both Fuji Heavy and Suzuki have not decided on when they will restart operations, company spokesmen said.

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