Toyota was forced to suspend production at all 14 of its factories in Japan starting on Tuesday after an apparent cyberattack took down a key supplier of parts.
The Tokyo-based automaker did not say whether the shutdown — which is expected to cause 13,000 cars worth of lost production — would extend beyond Tuesday or whether it was related to Russia.
The company’s plants in Japan account for about one-third of its global production.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters on Monday that the government would investigate the incident and whether Russia was involved.
“It is difficult to say whether this has anything to do with Russia before making thorough checks,” Kishida said.
A spokesperson for Toyota’s supplier, Kojima Industries, said it appeared to have been the victim of some kind of cyber attack but did not provide details.
The apparent hack comes after experts and US government officials have warned that Russia is likely to ramp up cyberattacks against countries that support Ukraine amid Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion.
Japan in recent days has pledged to give Ukraine $100 million in emergency aid and joined the US and European Union in kicking some Russian banks off of the SWIFT global payments system. The country also said Monday that it would sanction Russia’s central bank.
The apparent hack shows how Toyota’s “just-in-time” production system — which involves arriving parts going straight to the production line instead of being stockpiled — can be vulnerable to disruptions.
Coronavirus-related supply chain woes snarled auto production around the world in 2020 and 2021, sending prices for both new used vehicles skyrocketing.
Toyota production in North America was also disrupted earlier in February by the Canadian trucker protests.
Toyota’s New York Stock Exchange-listed shares were trading down 1.3% on Monday morning amid a broader slump in the markets.