March 22, 2011

Sony Temporarily Closes Some Plants In Japan

Five Sony plants in Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu and Oita, Japan have suspended operations until the end of March after the March 11 earthquake due to shortages of components and intermittent power outages.

The maker of the popular Vaio personal computer and PlayStation 3 gaming console confirmed in a press release that no employees were killed in the 9.0 magnitude quake, nor the tsunami that followed which devastated coastal towns along the northern portions of Japan.

Parts and material shortages are echoing though the manufacturing industries of Japan, halting work at factories outside the region struck by the earthquake, reports Bloomberg. A lithium-ion battery factory in Tochigi prefecture resumed operations Tuesday.

Inspections and repairs are on-going, however, operations remain suspended at plants in prefectures hardest-hit by the earthquake. Miyagi prefecture, where the devastation was centered, suffered the vast majority of deaths - police put estimates at 15,000.

Sony's Miyagi locations produce magnetic tapes, Blu-ray discs, optical devices, IC cards, and semiconductor lasers. Plants in Fukushima produce lithium-ion secondary batteries. A plant in quake-affected Ibaraki prefecture that makes CDs and DVDs was undergoing repairs.

All other Sony manufacturing sites in Japan are "currently maintaining normal operations and plan to continue such operations," Sony told AP. Interruptions, however could be commonplace due to availability of raw materials, components and power.

Police estimate around 18,400 people total died from the quake and tsunami as of this morning.


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