Motor Vehicle Supply Chain: Effects of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami [May 23, 2011] [open pdf - 303KB]
"The March 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami devastated the northeast coast of Japan with the most powerful natural disaster in Japan's modern history. Compounding the challenge for Japanese government, businesses, and communities was the resulting destruction of several nuclear reactors in the region which supplied electricity for homes and industry. Not only was electricity unavailable, but a large area was temporarily evacuated, making rapid reopening of affected industries impossible. Located in the disaster region and adversely affected by these forces are a number of manufacturing facilities which are integral to the global motor vehicle supply chain. They include plants that assemble automobiles and many suppliers which build parts and components for vehicles. Some of the Japanese factories that were forced to close provide parts and chemicals not easily available elsewhere. This is particularly true of automotive electronics, a major producer of which was located near the center of the destruction. The effect of these disasters has been first and foremost borne by Japanese automakers, which closed many of their Japanese assembly plants for several weeks as they assessed their supply chain issues and impact on their Tier 1, 2, and 3 suppliers."
CRS Report for Congress, R41831