Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. intend to create up to 5,000 temporary jobs in Japan for the first time in over a year, signifying the recovery of the industry from the March 11 disaster in Japan. Specifically, Honda plans to hire 1,000 temporary employees, according to the company's spokesperson Tomoko Uchida.
On the other hand, Toyota will hire around 3,000 to 4,000 temporary workers starting in the middle of July as the company begins to increase production in October, Shiori Hashimoto, the company's spokesperson stated. At the end of March, Toyota had 69,000 full-time workers.
The company's plants in Japan are running at 90 percent of planned levels this June, which is an increase from 50 percent in April and May brought about by the shortage of components from suppliers adversely affected by the disaster in March. The company is looking into reaching 100 percent of planned production levels in its factories by July.
According to analyst Takeshi Miyao at Tokyo-based consulting company Carnorama, hiring workers on a temporary basis is an indication that the problems with components supply is being resolved and that the industry is moving towards recovery.
He added that there are many back orders and without the additional employees, the demand will not be filled fast enough. Toyota last hired temporary workers in December 2009, while Honda had its latest hiring of temporary employees in April 2010.
On another note, Nissan Motor Co. has already started the hiring of as many as 200 temporary workers to enhance its production, the company's spokesperson Mitsuru Yonekawa disclosed in a phone interview.
Toyota hired 960 temporary workers as of the end of March. These new employees will have fixed-term contracts for a period that is still being determined, according to company spokesperson Dion Corbett.
The Great East Japan Earthquake – also known as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake or the 3.11 earthquake -- was a magnitude 9.0 to 9.1 earthquake off the coast of Japan, with an epicenter located around 70 km (43 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tohoku. It was regarded as the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan, triggering powerful tsunami waves reaching heights of up to 40.5 meters (133 ft) and traveling up to 10 km (6 mi) inland.
This disaster prompted Toyota to delay the launch of the wagon-style Prius in Japan due to the parts shortage. The Japanese carmaker was planning to launch the car by the end of April. Meanwhile, the earthquake claimed one death and resulted to several injuries when it caused the ceiling at Honda’s body design facility to crash down.