Toyota celebrates rare opening of Japan plant

OHIRA, Japan (AP) — Toyota is celebrating the opening of an auto plant in a forsaken rural area of Japan, which promises to grow into a new production point for the world’s largest automaker.

As automakers gradually shifted their production in the U.S. decades ago from the Detroit area to the rural South, where land, labor and raw materials are cheaper, so too has Toyota Motor Corp., which is moving production away from its headquarters of Toyota city, central Japan.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Wednesday at the plant — the first Japan opening for a Toyota plant in 18 years.

The plant employs 900 people and has production capacity of 120,000 vehicles a year.

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