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Yokohama resumes production in Japan

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Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. today announced plans for resuming production at plants stalled by the "Pacific Coast of Tohoku Earthquake."

1. Plants that were stalled by the earthquake

Production at the following Yokohama plants in the Kanto region and at sites further north were suspended immediately following the earthquake on March 11: Mishima, Hiratsuka, Hiratsuka-East, Hamatite (Nakahara), Ibaraki and Nagano.

2. Progress in resuming production

Production has resumed at the Mishima, Hiratsuka, Hiratsuka-East, Hamatite, and Nagano plants.

"The company conducted inspections to confirm the soundness and safety of equipment and systems at the plants on Sunday and Monday, March 13 and 14, and subsequently resumed production gradually," says the company.

Yokohama reports that capacity utilization at the plants remains below the level required to fulfill its annual production plan. Management is "tentatively confident" of restoring capacity utilization to that level, however, "provided that the plants retain access to electric power and to raw materials."

Inspections at the Ibaraki plant revealed some damage to the plant buildings and equipment. Yokohama says it has made the necessary repairs and is gradually resuming production at the plant while monitoring safety carefully.

The production of high-pressure hoses is already resuming gradually at the Ibaraki plant, but problems in securing reliable access to raw materials continue to limit output. Management is working to address those problems with an eye to increasing hose output further, starting on Monday, March 21.

Work also is under way to restart the Ibaraki Plant's production of Hamatite sealants and adhesives. That includes taking measures to secure reliable supplies of the requisite raw materials.

(For more information, click on "Yokohama speaks out on Japan catastrophe.")

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