Section 5. Repeated Difficulties and Trials
Item 1. The Great East Japan Earthquake
Establishment of Companywide Countermeasures Headquarters and Emergency Response Measures in Disaster Regions
On March 11, 2011, just two days after announcement of the Toyota Global Vision, a massive earthquake of magnitude 9.0 occurred with an epicenter off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture at 2:46 in the afternoon. The number of fatalities and missing was 19,009 (as of March 11, 2012, according to the National Police Agency), and this unprecedented disaster came to be known as the Great East Japan Earthquake. Several tens of minutes after the earthquake, a series of enormous tsunami struck the coast of eastern Japan, causing extensive damage in the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima. Because of the loss of power from the earthquake and tsunami, the emergency core cooling system of the Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant stopped operating. In the following days, a series of hydrogen explosions inside reactor buildings at the plant caused the release of radioactive material, leading to Japan's worst nuclear accident ever.
Damage to Toyota production sites consisted of the destruction of a portion of facilities at the Miyagi Plant of Central Motor Co., Ltd., the Iwate Plant of Kanto Auto Works, and Toyota Motor Tohoku Corporation, but the damage was relatively minor. However, approximately 450 dealers suffered damage including the complete destruction of 12 dealers, and 1,791 completed vehicles at port facilities were destroyed by tsunami.
Immediately after the earthquake, TMC convened a crisis-response meeting and quickly established a companywide countermeasures headquarters. The order of priorities was established as follows: 1) protecting human life and providing relief to victims, 2) aiding rapid recovery of disaster regions, and 3) resuming production. At the same time, earthquake-response headquarters for each function including procurement, production, and so on were established within each operations group, countermeasures headquarters were established outside the Head Office in Nagoya, Tokyo, and other regions, and a system for the central collection of information using videoconferencing was established.
On the following day, March 12, a decision was made to suspend operations at all Toyota plants and the plants of its vehicle manufacturing subsidiaries in Japan as of March 14, the following Monday, in order to place the highest priority on ensuring the safety of all employees, including those of its vehicle manufacturing subsidiaries and suppliers and confirming the safety of their families. That same day, TMC worked with partner companies, including suppliers, as well as dealers to begin the transport of emergency relief supplies, and 60 TMC employees were dispatched to the affected regions as an emergency relief team.