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Earthquake reveals fractures in Japan's auto supply chains

Toyota extends production cutback as Hitachi plant struggles to resume operations

Hitachi Astemo's Fukushima plant: the facility has struggled to resume operations following a Feb. 13 earthquake, resulting in widespread disruptions for Japan's auto industry. (Photo by Niki Mizuguchi)

TOKYO -- On Friday morning, less than a week after a 7.3-magnitude quake rocked northeastern Japan, a stream of cars from across the nation began flooding into a Hitachi suspension factory in Fukushima Prefecture that had been damaged in the upheaval.

The procession represented a who's who of Japan's auto industry, from a car emblazoned with a Suzuki Motor logo to technicians in Honda Motor jumpsuits.

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