Two weeks after a 9.0-earthquake and tsunami left thousands of people dead and parts of northern Japan in ruins, experts there estimate the catastrophe will cost the country €220 billion.
Now some German firms with close ties to Japanese suppliers are suffering too. Requests for Kurzarbeit, the country’s short work aid scheme, have already begun arriving, a spokeswoman from the Federal Labour Agency (BA) told daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.
“The first requests from the car manufacturing sector are in front of us,” she told the paper.
While most companies can still make up for shortages, some are working on long-term solutions.
“We already notice an increased need for consulting among the companies,” the BA spokeswoman said. “They know that sooner or later their storehouses will be missing the parts from Japan.”
The agency has already determined that Kurzarbeit aid, a subsidy created by the government after the financial crisis, can also be used in this case if companies prove they can’t compensate for their parts shortages elsewhere, the paper said.
This week, Opel plans to drop two shifts due to delivery delays, while Daimler and BMW told the paper they were reviewing their parts situation. Volkswagen said its production had not yet been affected.
Deliveries of electric parts and chips have suffered most since the earthquake, after which Japanese manufacturers cut back on production, the paper said.