ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Ukraine war

Hitachi prepares Ukraine evacuation of 7,200 employees

Russian attack forces Japanese companies to secure safety of workers

People waited to board planes at Boryspil International Airport in Ukraine after Russia launched military operations in the country.    © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese conglomerate Hitachi has put together evacuation plans for roughly 7,200 employees in Ukraine, Nikkei has learned, as the Russian invasion sets off a scramble by companies to ensure the safety of their workers.

Tech subsidiary GlobalLogic, which is headquartered in the U.S., has five locations in Ukraine that employ 7,200 engineers. Hitachi has made arrangements for those employees, mostly Ukrainian nationals, to be relocated to locations in Germany, Poland and other nearby countries.

"We are taking necessary action because the safety of the employees and their families is the overriding priority," a Hitachi manager said Thursday.

There are 57 Japanese companies operating in Ukraine as of January, according to business intelligence company Teikoku Databank. Automakers and other manufacturers make up about half the number at 28 companies.

The Japanese government is preparing to fly charter planes to countries near Ukraine for Japanese citizens who have relocated via overland routes.

"The situation is tense," Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday. "I have directed relevant agencies to do everything in their power to ensure the safety of Japanese living in Ukraine."

Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates there were about 120 Japanese nationals in Ukraine on Saturday. The number is down from more than 250 in December.

Major trading conglomerates have been relocating Japanese personnel away from Ukraine since late January. All employees at Itochu and Marubeni have been evacuated.

Toyota Motor suspended operations at a Ukrainian automotive distribution companies for Thursday and Friday, keeping employees at home.

Konica Minolta employs approximately 200 people at its Ukrainian arm. Normal operations are being maintained, and the chief of the local subsidiary will make the final decision whether to evacuate.

Konica Minolta also has operations in Russia, which exposes the group to sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe, according to Toshimitsu Taiko, the company's incoming president.

"The likelihood we will be caught in a double bind is not zero," said Taiko.

Auto suppliers Sumitomo Electric Industries and Fujikura make wire harnesses in Ukraine. Sumitomo Electric Industries has kept the local facilities running at normal capacity as of Thursday, though the company is currently discussing the appropriate response with automakers and other stakeholders.

"We are also considering alternate production in another country," said a Sumitomo Electric Industries representative.

Japan Tobacco holds a plant in central Ukraine that exports cigars to Japan and other markets. The facility employs roughly 900 workers, and people apart from Ukrainian nationals have been evacuated from the country. The impact appears to be limited at this point due to sufficient inventories.

Generic drugmaker Sawai Group Holdings procures material for anticancer medicine from Ukraine. The company has built up inventory to last for the short term and there are plans to tap supplies from Germany in the future.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more