Toyota restarts Tianjin production after devastating blast

Toyota logo Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Toyota and other companies halted production after the explosions

Toyota says it will gradually restart work at its Tianjin plants two weeks after deadly chemical explosions in the Chinese port city.

The facilities were shut down after massive blasts at a chemical storage site, which injured 67 Toyota employees and damaged thousands of vehicles.

The Japanese firm said workers would begin preparatory work on Thursday ahead of restarting production.

The blast in Tianjin killed 139 people and injured hundreds others.

The explosions happened while the carmaker's factories were closed for a vacation period, but Toyota decided to delay the restart to assess the situation after the blast.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Thousands of imported cars were also damaged by the blast

The main Tianjin factory, which produces models including the popular Corolla, has about 12,000 employees and manufactured 440,000 vehicles in 2014.

The carmaker had also stopped production at a factory about 70 kilometres (44 miles) away from Tianjin which depends on parts from the main operation.

"So far, we have been inspecting our production facilities and ensuring machinery is safe to operate, while conducting maintenance as necessary," Toyota said.

Toyota was one of several international companies in and near Tianjin that were affected by toxic blasts.

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