Toyota suspends operations at its national plant after an alleged cyberattack

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TOKYO, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said it would suspend operations at the domestic plant on Tuesday, losing around 13,000 production cars, after a supplier of plastic parts and electronic components has been hit by a suspected cyberattack.

No information was immediately available on who was behind the possible attack or on the motive. The attack comes just after Japan joined Western allies in suppressing Russia after it invaded Ukraine, although it’s unclear if the attack was related.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said his government would investigate the incident and whether Russia was involved.

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“It’s hard to say if it has anything to do with Russia until we do some thorough checks,” he told reporters.

Kishida announced on Sunday that Japan would join the United States and other countries in blocking some Russian banks from accessing the SWIFT international payment system. He also said Japan would give Ukraine $100 million in emergency aid.

A spokesperson for the supplier, Kojima Industries Corp, said it appeared to have been the victim of some sort of cyberattack.

A Toyota spokesperson described it as a “vendor system failure”.

The Toyota logo is seen on a stand during a media day for the Auto Shanghai show in Shanghai, China April 19, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

The company does not yet know whether the shutdown of its 14 factories in Japan, which account for about a third of its global production, will last more than a day, the spokesperson added.

Some plants operated by Toyota subsidiaries Hino Motors (7205.T) and Daihatsu (6023.T) are included in the shutdown.

Toyota, which has experienced cyberattacks in the past, is a pioneer in just-in-time manufacturing with parts arriving from suppliers directly onto the production line rather than being stored.

State actors have launched cyberattacks against Japanese companies in the past, including an attack on Sony Corp (6758.T) in 2014, which exposed internal data and shut down computer systems.

The United States blamed North Korea for the attack, which came after Sony released “The Interview,” a comedy about a plot to assassinate regime leader Kim Jong Un.

Toyota’s production shutdown comes as the world’s largest automaker is already tackling supply chain disruptions around the world caused by the COVID pandemic, which has forced it, as well as other car manufacturers, to reduce production.

Toyota this month also saw some production shut down in North America due to parts shortages caused by protests by Canadian truckers. Read more

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Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama, Tim Kelly and Maki Shiraki; Editing by Louise Heavens and Tomasz Janowski

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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