February 7th, 2009
05:10 AM GMT
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TOYOTA CITY, Japan — Cecelia Kobashigawa came to the Toyota City job center with four friends. They're all in the same boat – suddenly fired from a Toyota subsidiary due to the global economic slowdown. Her eyes welled up as she told us about her 19-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son and how long they'd survive without her working. "It's so tough," she said, clutching handouts from the center on job leads.
Unfortunately, the job leads are just not there, at least not in this one industry city that lives and dies by Toyota Motor Corporation.
The news went from bad to worse on Toyota's outlook for the fiscal year. Toyota revised its earnings forecast for the fiscal year ending in March 2009, to a loss three times larger than what it feared. Toyota is forecasting a net loss of $4 billion and an operating loss of nearly $5 billion. It's the first time in Toyota's 71 year history that the company will record a net or operating loss for a fiscal year.
Toyota Executive Vice President Mitsuo Kinoshita says the company is thoroughly reviewing the entire business to reduce costs across the board. He said it hopes "to achieve further cost reduction and reduce fixed costs by 10 percent." Toyota did not reveal specifics of the cost reductions.
For Kobashigawa, she's not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel in Toyota City. The city of 400,000 is seeing historic levels of unemployment. This area now has Japan's highest rate of unemployment. Under the handouts of her job leads, she also has a brochure for a training school. She's thinking of becoming a day care worker. Perhaps the joy of children could become a source of hope in these tough economic times.

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soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Lauro Silva - Brazil

    The Company is absolutely right reviewing the entire business to reduce costs mainly keeping in mind that more simple models should be aimed at, until, at least, the vicious circle lack of confidence- unemployment-lack of confidence is broken. As to Ms. Kobashigawa, maybe she and her children will be able to start preparing successfully cheap home-made meal. a good activity in time of crisis.

    February 7, 2009 at 8:22 am |
  2. Sam in Spain

    And you ain't seen nothing yet!!!!!!!. Just wait until Europe in General starts to call more and more strikes and millions more lose their jobs. They have already started as you know and Spain has over 3 million unemployed with a lot more to follow. Europe will be in meltdown this year at least, very sad but true and the one to blame is the US and Europe including the people themselves who were living in a dream world with excess credit offered by the banks. Sadly this will take several years to sort out but no one seems to know when.
    A re-arrangement of the world Finances and more control by authorities is necessary

    February 7, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  3. David Ali Ndahi

    what are the features of the toyota 2009 model and when did toyota company start producing cars,and who own the company

    February 7, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  4. Endurance Erukunu

    Wit due respect.Iwill want does M.D of does company around the world 2 stop making innocent people suffer 4 nothing bcoz they are not the coz of wat is happening.Sacking the workers will never help anything they know wat 2 do.If they want people 2 go home ithink them all so should go home as well

    February 7, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  5. earle,florida

    It seems that "China", has also sucked the lifeblood out of Japan! Today's," World Trade Organization" that bandies about free trade,has some much needed revisions! The Organization of Economic Cooperation,and Development (OECD) created alot of disadvantages for "Multinational Corporations" relative to a "Territorial" systems,such as wage desparity/devalued currency in non-signatorial countries,ie.China/India,etc.!

    February 7, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  6. Richard

    From her name, it sounds like she is from Brazil, and may be of Japanese ancestry, which is common in Toyota City. Many Brazilian immigrant workers are loosing their jobs right now in Japan.

    February 8, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  7. George

    More ridiculous by the day.

    What do we do with all the unemployed of the World to keep them busy, and away from depression or very violent behavior??

    At some point this (censored) has to blow up like a nuclear bomb.

    February 8, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  8. Tim

    We apologize so much to the Japanese people for the great suffering caused by eight years of the worst president in US history, George Bush.

    February 8, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  9. globalblog

    Todays Breaking News Nissan to cut 20,000 jobs globally. What will a nation do with the talent pool suddenly finding without any jobs.
    The underlying factor in this global crisis is very apparent – GREED. What can the government do to control greed? Government should adopt Socialist methods with free market economy and new fusion for this world.
    With so much of people unemployed the Government can absorb this talent for the state work in different work in Military, Social Work, Health, Public Transport, construction.
    This way we can balance between Free market and socialism.

    February 9, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  10. Per Holmlund

    Hope in Japan

    They have used their hope and are sitting with a public debt of 150 percent of GNP. If it’s tough today there will be no words to describe a world with interest’s rates rising. So key critical factor today not only in Japan but globally: interest rates.

    February 9, 2009 at 8:20 pm |
  11. Paul Green

    The auto maker that can reduce costs and reduce prices will survive this economic downturn. Too often however, when we think of reducing costs, we think of the knee jerk reaction of layoffs and reductions on the company floor. There are other approaches however that don’t seem to get much attention. What about salary cuts across the board? Hourly wages, particularly amongst the big three, seems to be way excessive by most standards. More importantly however, there has to be significant cuts in executive salaries. Salaries in the millions of dollars; what kind of industry can sustain that? Cuts in this area must be real, substantive and far more than we’ve seen to date. This is true perhaps not only in the auto industry. Sharing the pain collectively is far better than this downward spiral of thousands of newly unemployed and thousands more scared to death of losing their job and having nothing. All that is to say, that companies that can best reduce costs with minimal layoffs and as a result pass on meaningful price reductions to consumers, will be rewarded in relative terms by increased sales and a far more stable and productive work force.

    February 11, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  12. Americans, Let's show them how it's done!

    These guys on Capitol Hill are scared. They don't know what to do because the problem is essentially not solvable. Debt upon debt upon Credit Default Swap debt adds up to many times our GDP. It's that big.

    ALL WE CAN DO IS SET UP A GOOD BANK. FORGET THIS NONSENSE ABOUT A BAD BANK. Especially do not allow the Fed to literally buy those meaningless, valueless "assets". There are no assets people. They are just numbers on a balance sheet.

    TAKE $100 BILLION, CREATE A GOOD BANK AND START LENDING. I don't know what to do with our existing banks. In great part, they are already "Bad Banks". They need to leave their books as they are and they figure it out. They made their own problems. Come back to that problem later.

    The important thing now is to get money into our system and figure out how to solve the nightmare later. $100 billion can go a long way toward helping small business get moving again. That and a 6 month moratorium on Federal (Payroll) Income tax and 6 months at a 50% reduction. Add a temporary 5% State Income tax to help gradually save them.

    The Titanic will not be able to reach New York people. The water tight compartments in the hull that were supposed to be sealed off so the rest of it would not take on water never existed. (Law, rules, oversight) So it's gonna sink. Send in the Coast Guard (you and me) and rescue those poor drowning people (Americans) and let the ship go. There is nothing we can do about it. I'm sorry.

    We'll figure out how to earn back some semblance of life as we knew it as soon as the Coast Guard (those of us that still have jobs and homes) brings our people back (our neighbors) to solid land (the people of the United States of America) where the rest of us can help warm them up....


    and do it now before any more of them drown in those icy cold waters.

    Nick in Burbank

    February 12, 2009 at 1:06 am |
  13. Sam in Spain

    Just to cheer you up while my blog of 7th inst is still awaiting moderation, when we lived in Florida (2001/2). We of couse had a bank account and my wife was working.After about 6 months the bank offered her a credit card with a limit of $100,000. She filed it in the rubbish bin. Of course the USA only works on CREDIT and that is why they are like Europe in so much trouble. Now with bank rates collapsing to 0% so are the prudent who saved. Where do we go next if and when the £789 Billion Bail out fails? into a Depression caused by the idiots that were in charge, Banks!!!!! both in the us and UK.
    Any chance of someone in CNN knowing and answering or are you all as much in the dark and the so-called EXPERTS?????????

    February 13, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  14. Advessappeats

    yeh right.. great post, Thank You

    August 19, 2009 at 4:29 am |

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