CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When Toyota broke ground on its plant in Putnam County in 1996, other Japanese companies soon followed.
Some of those companies emerged in Putnam to specifically meet the needs of Toyota's Buffalo plant. But others arrived with no ties to the company at all.
Now, all of Putnam's eight Japanese companies have a connection to Toyota, and like Toyota, they have all recovered from last year's earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Nippon Thermostat didn't necessarily establish itself in the Putnam Business Park in Fraziers Bottom because of the nearby Toyota engine plant.
"When [Nippon] built the plant, they didn't supply any parts to Toyota at Buffalo," said Gary Walton, director of Putnam's Development Authority.
Nippon announced last month it would double the size of its operations in Fraziers Bottom and create an additional 30 jobs.
"Now, [Toyota] creates the bulk of their work and has for almost the last three years," Walton said of Nippon, which makes automotive thermostats.
Toyota is also in the process of increasing production at the company's plant in Buffalo and creating an additional 80 jobs.
Last month, Toyota's top U.S. sales executive said he predicts his company will add jobs and build more models in North America as a hedge against a strong yen, according to an article by The Associated Press.
About 18 months after Japan was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese automotive industry seems to have bounced back.
During Toyota's 15-year celebration in October, only about eight months after the disaster in Japan, the company announced production had been returned to normal levels.
Then, almost exactly one year after the earthquake and tsunami, Toyota announced its most recent expansion that adds the 80 jobs.
"The earthquake and tsunami had an impact worldwide because some parts manufactured for Toyota vehicles are manufactured in Japan," Walton said.
Some of Nippon Thermostat's plants north of Tokyo suffered from the earthquake's aftershock, Walton said.