UPDATED: Major Japanese Consumer Electronics Companies are tonight assessing the potential damage, to their manufacturing operations, with Sharp, Panasonic and Mitsubishi set to be hit by major shutdowns and disruptions to their distribution operations.
Major Japanese Consumer Electronics Companies are tonight assessing the potential damage, to their manufacturing operations, with Sharp, Panasonic and Mitsubishi set to be hit by major shutdowns and disruptions to their distribution operations.
Last night Japan was struck by its strongest earthquake in at least a century, an 8.9-magnitude temblor that shook buildings across Tokyo and unleashed a tsunami as high as 10 metres, engulfing towns along the northern coast.
Sanyo, Sharp and Panasonic have already suspended operations at several of their plants. The brand new multibillion dollar Sharp LED display plant in Sakai, which has been designed to handle earthquakes automatically shut down when the first earthquake, tremor was detected.
In 2008 Panasonic opened a new EV Energy manufacturing plant in Sendai, which is 25 kilometres from where the earthquake hit. The plant is believed to have been wiped out by the tsunami according to early reports.
Also located in Sendai is a Sony Technology Centre.
At 10PM Eastern Australia time at least 36 people were officially announced dead after the 10 metre wave powering the tsunami hit the Japanese coast where hundreds of small manufacturing plants are located.
“Major damage occurred in the Tohoku area” north of Tokyo, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said in a nationally televised address after convening an emergency response team. “I call on citizens to act calmly. Especially those who are near a beach, please evacuate to higher ground to avoid the tsunami.”
The world’s strongest earthquake in more than six years struck at 2:46 p.m. local time 130 kilometers (81 miles) off the coast of Sendai, north of Tokyo, at a depth of 24 kilometers, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It was followed by a 7.1- magnitude aftershock at 4:25 p.m., the agency said.
Sony evacuated six facilities in northeastern Japan, Yasuhiro Okada, a Sony spokesman, told Bloomberg News. The spokesman said Sony was assessing the impact of power outages and damage to its facilities in the region, which make Blu-ray discs, magnetic heads and batteries.
A Panasonic spokesman in Tokyo said several employees at its three factories in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures sustained minor injuries. The company is still assessing the damage to facilities, the report said.
A Canon spokesman said the company did not suffer damage to plants in the region that would halt output.
Sharp only said that is was still assessing damage, and Epson said that it was still gathering information.
Amid fears that supplies of crucial technical components made in Japan could be hit, mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson said it was in close contact with its Japanese suppliers and so far there were no reports of major damage. The company said its about 1,100 employees at two offices in Tokyo were unhurt and the buildings undamaged.
Nokia said it was still assessing the commercial impact of the earthquake and the status of its subcontractors was so far unclear. The Finnish company has no manufacturing facilities but sources components from subcontractors in the country, a spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires.
Two of Japan’s major cellular phone carriers, NTT DoCoMo and Softbank, reported cellphone service disruptions and Nippon Telephone & Telegraph said that landline calls to several regions, including Tokyo, are limited.
According to a Bloomberg report, Samsung Electronics said it expects today’s earthquake in Japan to have minimal impact on the company’s production schedule. Some of Samsung’s photo equipment was momentarily halted at 2:54 p.m. local time to avoid malfunction and operations returned to normal by 4:30 p.m., the company said in an emailed statement.