Industrial Output Falls at Fastest Pace Since May 2020

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Toyota Motor Corp. head office

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s industrial production fell 7.5% in January from the previous month due mainly to lower automobile output, the fastest decline since May 2020 in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, government data showed Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted production index for the manufacturing and mining sectors stood at 97.6 against the 2020 base of 100, the industry ministry said in a preliminary report.

The ministry lowered its view on industrial production for the first time in six months, saying it has “weakened” while fluctuating indecisively. The downgrade comes as a substantial recovery is unlikely in February and March, a ministry official said.

In January, production declined in 14 of the 15 surveyed industries.

The auto sector’s output plunged 17.8%, dampened by the suspension of plants caused by heavy snow and vehicle testing scandals involving Daihatsu Motor Co. and Toyota Industries Corp., an affiliate of Toyota Motor Corp.

Production at general-purpose and business-oriented machinery makers dived 12.6% due to lower output of auto-related equipment.