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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Supply Chain Problems From Japan Affecting Cars, Electronics And More

In this March 28, 2011 file photo, new vehicles damaged by the March 11 tsunami waters sit lined in a Toyota parking lot at Sendai port, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan. A shortage of auto parts and other components after Japan's earthquake has stirred unease about two pillars of manufacturing: the country's role as a crucial link in the global supply chain and "just in time" production. (AP)

New vehicles damaged by the March 11 tsunami waters sit lined in a Toyota parking lot at Sendai port, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan. (AP)

Moody’s Investors Service is considering cutting the long-term credit rating of Toyota, and it’s carefully watching Honda and Nissan. All three Japanese car makers had to stop production in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami, though Toyota has managed to restart some assembly lines.

For Toyota, the disaster affected its shipping of about 500 car parts, including for cars assembled in the U.S. And it could be months before Japanese factories resume full production.

But it’s not just the car industry that’s affected. Most of the world’s hydrogen peroxide is made in Japan. And many analysts say this is the most significant disruption they’ve ever seen in the supply chain for consumer electronics. Supply chain expert Jeffrey Karrenbauer, president of Insight, Inc., says it didn’t have to be this way.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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