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Making decisions on-site and acting quickly-that sort of culture is firmly established.

 To deal with the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake including electricity shortages, Honda cut electricity use and implemented rotating days off and three-shift systems. Honda’s domestic facilities experienced various difficulties in fiscal 2012.

 To review our environmental response during fiscal 2012,

the domestic production division environmental officers held a roundtable meeting in March 2012.

(Organizers)
Michio Shinohara and Hisashi Kato
Environment & Safety Planning Office
(Moderator)
Yuji Mukano, Chief Engineer
Green Factory Promotion Center
Toshikazu Miyazaki, Senior Staff Engineer
Business Administration Division, Kumamoto Factory
Masaomi Ajioka, Senior Staff Engineer
Suzuka Factory
Masamichi Matsumura, Senior Staff Engineer
Business Administration Division, Hamamatsu Factory
Chihiro Morimoto, Chief Engineer
Business Administration Division, Saitama Factory
Koichi Aonami, General Manager
Business Administration Division, Tochigi Factory
Tomohiro Sakurai, Senior Staff Engineer
Facilities Department, Honda Engineering Co., Ltd.
Kazunori Tateoka, Manager
Quality Assurance Division, Quality Innovation Center

Yuji Mukano, Chief Engineer

Yuji Mukano, Chief Engineer
Green Factory Promotion Center

Koichi Aonami, Senior Manager

Koichi Aonami, Senior Manager
Business Administration Division, Tochigi Factory

How were the damage and responses at each facility?

Moderator: To begin with, tell us about the damage suffered from the Great East Japan Earthquake and the response at each location.

Aonami: At the Tochigi Factory, just after the ground started shaking the electricity shut off completely, the emergency power supply was destroyed, and we couldn’t even make an evacuation announcement. Our factory suffered the greatest damage of all Honda production facilities. We could not work toward recovery because we had no electricity. There was no running water for the toilets and no way to prepare food. The electricity was finally restored on the second day after the earthquake, but because the lighting fixtures were all destroyed it was still dark inside, making it impossible to even survey the damage. What is more, since most associates commute by car, the shortage of gasoline meant that some could not get to work.
It was a big reminder about the importance of electricity, gasoline and other energy. The one consolation in the disaster was that the city gas (natural gas) supply was not damaged. Considering that, we are now preparing a gas-fired emergency generator.

Sakurai: At Honda Engineering Co., Ltd. in Tochigi, there was also damage throughout the building. The ceilings fell in the cafeteria and on a floor with 300 people. Associates pushed their way through the debris, climbed out and evacuated. Ducts and lighting fixtures also fell. The air conditioning system and transformers were completely destroyed. Two large cranes and one small crane collapsed, and 20 conveyor rails had to be repaired. It was absolutely impossible to conduct any work there, so we rented meeting rooms at nearby offices and universities, relocated to other Honda facilities, and gradually resumed operations.

Morimoto: We did not suffer any direct damage at the Saitama Factory, but the indirect impact was great. To start, we had to suspend production for about 20 days because we could not receive parts from suppliers that suffered damage. Then our plant was operating at around 50% of capacity through the end of September. It has been about 40 years since I entered the company, and in my experience this was the first time we had to suspend production because parts could not be supplied. Miyazaki: We did not suffer any direct damage at the Kumamoto Factory either. We received requests for assistance from factories and research centers that were hit, collected all the electricity generators, electric cables and other supplies we had, and sent them off. That left us with no generators in the Kyushu Region, so we had to delay work that had been scheduled.

Miyazaki: We did not suffer any direct damage at the Kumamoto Factory either. We received requests for assistance from factories and research centers that were hit, collected all the electricity generators, electric cables and other supplies we had, and sent them off. That left us with no generators in the Kyushu Region, so we had to delay work that had been scheduled.

Ajioka: The Suzuka Factory was also shaken, but the seismic intensity was only around 3, so the factory suffered no direct damage. When we learned from the news that this was a major earthquake, we hastily opened a disaster countermeasures preparations office and confirmed the safety of staff on business trips to the Kanto region. Then, like the Kumamoto Factory, we provided assistance to Honda facilities that needed help.

Matsumura: The Hamamatsu Factory also suffered no direct damage, so we focused on providing support.

Tateoka: There was major damage at the Quality Innovation Center Tochigi. The glass on the front side of the building shattered, office ceilings collapsed, and there was also damage in the cafeteria and other facilities. During the reconstruction works, we made use of buildings that were still usable, the automobile body wing and prefabricated structures as temporary offices. We finally reopened our regular office at the end of July.

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