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Explosion, shutdown test Toyota's 'just-in-time' production system

All Japanese Toyota plans will shut down next week.

NAGOYA -- The recent explosion at a Toyota Motor group company that will halt production at all of the automaker's domestic facilities next week highlights a challenge stemming from the Japanese company's minimal-inventory production structure.

     Sixteen Toyota group facilities will be shut Feb. 8-13, including four Aichi Prefecture factories of the parent, as supplies of special steel used in engines and transmissions are left short by the Jan. 8 blast at an Aichi Steel plant. Production is expected to be reduced by about 70,000 vehicles.

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