Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday that it will not be able to start this year's vehicle production in Japan as planned as some of its suppliers suffered damage from the magnitude-7.6 earthquake that struck the country's Noto Peninsula on New Year's Day.

The automaker had initially planned to start production on Monday, but the plan was scratched after the quake in central Japan, President Koji Sato told reporters in Tokyo, adding that it will decide on the timing by Sunday.

"We hope to make a assessing the inventory situation," Sato said, adding that 10 dealerships in quake-stricken Ishikawa Prefecture are also unable to operate.

Toyota Motor Corp. President Koji Sato speaks to reporters in Tokyo on Jan. 5, 2024. (Kyodo)

The automaker, which plans to send emergency relief goods such as water and all-terrain vehicles to the quake-hit areas, has been hit by a series of production issues in recent years.

The automaker stopped part of its domestic production for 10 days in October last year after an explosion at a factory of one of its suppliers caused a shortage of spring parts. In March 2022, a cyberattack on another supplier resulted in a production halt at all of its factories in Japan.

Sato also apologized for the safety testing scandal at its small-car subsidiary Daihatsu Motor Co. that resulted in the stoppage of all its shipments at home and abroad.

"I was in a position to oversee it, but my understanding of its operations was not enough," said Sato, who formerly served as a board member at the unit.

Sato said Toyota would join forces with Daihatsu to find the cause of the problem and the reason why employees felt compelled to commit the misconduct.

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