VOA NEWS – The world’s biggest automaker says it is boosting production in Japan as it recovers from the March earthquake and tsunami that devastated part of the country.

Japanese car maker Toyota announced Wednesday domestic production will return to 90 percent of pre-disaster levels this month. Company executives credited the quicker than anticipated recovery on the ability of its suppliers to restore their operations faster than they had expected.

Toyota’s global operations were hit hard by the twin disasters on March 11, which caused a meltdown at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant that supplied power to Toyota’s headquarters.

Toyota was temporarily forced to shut down its Japanese production facilities. The disasters also led to a parts shortage at the company’s other factories.

Toyota officials estimate that production at the company’s facilities in Europe and North America will return to at least 70 percent of pre-disaster capacity this month.

Meanwhile, Toyota Wednesday issued a global recall for about 106,000 hybrid vehicles due to concerns about possible problems with the steering mechanisms.

Toyota officials said the recall impacts about 52,000 early model Prius vehicles sold in the United States from 2001 through 2003.

Another 2,000 were sold in Britain and Germany.

Toyota said problems with the nuts that help secure the power steering shaft could cause difficultly in steering the vehicles.

Over the past two years, Toyota has announced safety recalls involving more than 14 million vehicles.

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