TOKYO — Toyota was quick to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. with plans to make medical face shields. Now that the Japanese government has declared a state of emergency in its home market, Toyota is rallying resources to fight the spread here.
Toyota's plan for Japan — similar to what automakers are doing in the U.S. — includes making face masks, producing face shields, building hospital beds, fabricating emergency partition walls and churning out other medical supplies.
To do that, the company is marshaling the full force of the Toyota Group constellation of partner companies and suppliers. It draws on the manufacturing firepower of Aisin Seiki Co., Denso Corp. and Toyota Boshoku Corp.
Toyota outlined the strategy last week as Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency in major metropolitan areas as coronavirus infections rise. Some experts fear Japan is on the edge of a massive outbreak.
The government's decree stops short of a full lockdown, but it enables local governors to close nonessential businesses in cities such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka and Fukuoka.
Japan had 5,530 cases of coronavirus infection by late last week, according to international tracking site Worldometers, while 99 people have died.