Tokyo, April 7 (Jiji Press) — Nippon Steel Corp. <5401> said Tuesday it will idle two blast furnaces in eastern and western Japan in response to slumping steel demand for automobiles and buildings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The No. 1 blast furnace at the Kashima works in Ibaraki Prefecture will be suspended in mid-April and the No. 1 furnace at the Wakayama works in Wakayama Prefecture later the same month, the major steelmaker said.
The two furnaces are together capable of producing about 15 pct of the company’s total capacity.
Nippon Steel has already idled one blast furnace at the Kure works in Hiroshima Prefecture, due to trade disputes between the United States and China.
The company also said it will from this month have its employees at such locations as the head office and domestic steel factories, totaling some 30,000, take two extra days off work per month.