Japan Earthquake Updates Newsroom
With its global headquarters in Yokohama as command central, Nissan conducted its annual emergency response drills Monday with crisis simulation exercises.
Coming just days before the one-year anniversary of the disasters of March 2011, some 50 employees in the headquarters were involved in the drills, including staff at the Oppama plant in Kanagawa prefecture and various domestic sites of transmission supplier JATCO.
Such business contingency drills have become an essential part of the company’s crisis response preparations since the 2007 Niigata earthquake.
Last year's 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of northeastern Japan put Nissan’s disaster response teams into high gear.
Within minutes, the crisis management committee was up and running with Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga leading the Global Disaster Control Headquarters.
"After these type of disasters occur, the company should know that employees' safety is first. We should also know about the safety of the suppliers, dealers or our affiliated companies and then how to restore operations," explains Shiga. “This process [aims] to prioritize and to make a decision — through this type of training drills we can easily understand the priority and not panic.”
Thanks to practice drills that took place only weeks earlier, response procedures were clear and quickly implemented.
In the months that followed, the crisis management committee continued to tackle aftershocks that affected production recovery, while the experience stressed the importance of regular preparation.
"This company has been doing this every year, for the last five or six years,” says Nissan Senior Vice President Hitoshi Kawaguchi, referring to the importance of regular drills. “Once you prepare yourself for all kinds of disasters then you don't panic, and I think that's quite important for us to be well-trained for natural disasters like a great earthquake or anything which could damage the company's operations.”
Nissan's rapid response to the March 11 disasters helped the automaker to recover faster than industry peers, while emergency response drills in Japan are seen as a template for similar preparation plans across the globe.
# # #