Sweden's Volvo Group, the world's second biggest truckmaker, said on March 15 that it was halting the operations of its Japanese subsidiary UD Trucks until March 21 amid growing fears of radiation from damaged nuclear plants.
"UD Trucks recommends all its employees in the Ageo area to stay home as a result of the development in the Fukushima nuclear power plant," Volvo said, explaining it had 9,500 employees in Japan and that most were based in Ageo, some 300 kilometers (190 miles) from the plant that was damaged in the major earthquake.
Japanese authorities have not ordered the evacuation of Ageo, but power outages are frequent in the area as in much of the rest of metropolitan Tokyo, Volvo said.
Volvo added all UD Trucks buildings had "suffered minor damages" in the earthquake, and that the company was surveying them further.
Japanese car makers have meanwhile said they were interrupting production until today or March 20, even in plants that were not damaged by the earthquake, because of supply issues.
Volvo, whose truck business is second only to Daimler globally and which also makes buses, is no longer linked to the Volvo Cars unit, which it sold in 1999 to Ford, which in turn sold it to Chinese Geely last year.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011
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