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Japan stresses job-creation by Toyota in U.S. after Trump tweet

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese automakers are contributing to job creation in the United States, Japanese officials said Friday in response to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's threat to impose heavy taxes on Toyota Motor Corp. if it goes ahead with plans to build Corolla cars for the United States in Mexico.

    "Japanese automakers are making significant contributions in terms of jobs in the United States. It is important that their efforts and results are accepted widely," Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko told a press conference. "It is an issue of a private company but the government is set to support it."

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also defended the role played by Japanese businesses for the world's biggest economy, saying, "Toyota has been aiming to be a good corporate citizen for the United States."

    Trump, who has pressed companies to keep jobs and production in the United States, said in a post on Twitter, "Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax."

    The threat came after Toyota President Akio Toyoda said Thursday that the automaker has no immediate plans to reconsider its envisaged production in Mexico.

    Ford Motor Co., meanwhile, this week cancelled plans to build a new factory in Mexico in a move viewed as having taken into consideration Trump's call to abandon the idea and create more jobs in its home market.

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