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Natural disasters

Deadly Japan floods halt factories across industrial base Kyushu

Production stoppages hit Toyota, Panasonic and Toto

Heavy rains flooded many parts of the Kyushu island in southern Japan.   © Kyodo

TOKYO/KITAKYUSHU, Japan -- Torrential rains in southwestern Japan forced more plants to close Tuesday as floodwaters poured into factories, knocked out power and threatened to cover roads.

Heavy rains are expected to move toward western and central Japan through Wednesday morning, hitting the greater Osaka and Nagoya regions and threatening further business disruptions and property damage. 

Three Toyota Motor factories remained shut Tuesday in Fukuoka Prefecture as a precaution. The plants produce Lexus luxury cars and other vehicles for Japan's top automaker. Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu Motor stopped some production for part of the day.

Plant closures spread across a broad range of industries after flooding that has killed more than 50 people on the island of Kyushu, a key manufacturing base for Japanese companies that have contended with disasters there before -- including powerful earthquakes in 2016.

Mitsui Mining & Smelting's plant in the Fukuoka Prefecture city of Omuta suffered water damage. Mitsui Chemicals halted production in Omuta after floodwaters disabled a transformer station, interrupting the power supply.

Toilet maker Toto stopped production at a subsidiary in Fukuoka Prefecture amid concerns that floodwaters would cut off access roads. Canon halted work at a digital camera factory in Nagasaki Prefecture out of concern for employee safety. Panasonic stopped production of capacitors, an electronic component, in Kumamoto Prefecture.

The rains, which have caused rivers to overrun levees and triggered deadly mudslides, have disrupted deliveries by Japan Post, Nippon Express and Yamato Transport.

Toyota and Daihatsu plan to restart the affected factories on Wednesday. No damage was suffered at the plants.

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