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Manufacturers hampered by Kumamoto quake

Honda assembles motorcycles in Kumamoto.

TOKYO -- The major earthquake that hit southern Japan's Kumamoto Prefecture on Thursday may hinder operations at area manufacturers for some time, despite their efforts to return to normal as soon as possible.

     Many companies are busy gathering information and inspecting production equipment. While some may get to restart operations early next week, others will likely have to wait longer. Semiconductor manufacturers, with their complex production processes, are in the latter group. So are automakers, dependent on supplies of many different parts.

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