Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cover Up at Fukushima; Critics See a Worse-Than-Chernobyl Scenario Ahead; High-Tech Japanese And Global Electronics Industry Seriously Wounded.

 Cover Up at Fukushima; Critics See a Worse-Than-Chernobyl Scenario Ahead; High-Tech Japanese And Global Electronics Industry Seriously Wounded.

Is has become Gin clear that the Japanese Government and Nuclear establishment are both lying and attempting to manage incrementally a scenario that worsens by the hour.While the hearts of the world our out to the Japanese people; radiation is showing up around the globe and experts perceiving the unfolding of a disaster that will ultimately dwarf Chernobyl. Relatively unreported, the high-tech/electronics industry and pipeline for worldwide distribution has suffered a critical wound that will shortly impact the world economy.  Once again; one must go searching for the facts and the truth that Government and Corporations do not want revealed in their sock-puppet media outlets. Heads up folks! High-tech/Electronics Corporations are bound to present as rosy a picture as regards returning to production or normalcy but reality will quickly erode these early hopeful predictions. American as well other nations electronics producers and suppliers had best be prepared for a trickle down of merchandise and production.This obviously is not good economic news.

Japanese Expert speaks on Nuclear Cover-up
Details of what is happening at four Japanese nuclear facilities are being suppressed and the Japanese people are being fed reassuring lies. Radiation
 exposure is already at dangerous levels. There is substantial risk that one or more of the reactors will explode. One of the cores may already have melted down. The official response has been criminally inadequate.

"You Get 3,500,000 the Normal Dose. You Call That Safe? And What Media Have Reported This? None!"

What They're Covering Up at Fukushima

By HIROSE TAKASHI : Introduced by Douglas Lummis : Okinawa

Hirose Takashi has written a whole shelf full of books, mostly on the nuclear power industry and the military-industrial complex.  Probably his best known book is  Nuclear Power Plants for Tokyo in which he took the logic of the nuke promoters to its logical conclusion: if you are so sure that they're safe, why not build them in the center of the city, instead of hundreds of miles away where you lose half the electricity in the wires? 

He did the TV interview that is partly translated below somewhat against his present impulses.  I talked to him on the telephone today (March 22 , 2011) and he told me that while it made sense to oppose nuclear power back then, now that the disaster has begun he would just as soon remain silent, but the lies they are telling on the radio and TV are so gross that he cannot remain silent.

I have translated only about the first third of the interview (you can see the whole thing in Japanese on you-tube), the part that pertains particularly to what is happening at the Fukushima plants.  In the latter part he talked about how dangerous radiation is in general, and also about the continuing danger of earthquakes.

After reading his account, you will wonder, why do they keep on sprinkling water on the reactors, rather than accept the sarcophagus solution  [ie., entombing the reactors in concrete. Editors.] I think there are a couple of answers.  One, those reactors were expensive, and they just can't bear the idea of that huge a financial loss.  But more importantly, accepting the sarcophagus solution means admitting that they were wrong, and that they couldn't fix the things. 

On the one hand that's too much guilt for a human being to bear.  

On the other, it means the defeat of the nuclear energy idea, an idea they hold to with almost religious devotion.  And it means not just the loss of those six (or ten) reactors, it means shutting down all the others as well, a financial catastrophe.  If they can only get them cooled down and running again they can say, See, nuclear power isn't so dangerous after all.  

Fukushima is a drama with the whole world watching, that can end in the defeat or (in their frail, I think groundless, hope) victory for the nuclear industry.  Hirose's account can help us to understand what the drama is about. Douglas Lummis

Hirose Takashi:  The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident and the State of the Media
Broadcast by Asahi NewStar, 17 March, 20:00
Interviewers: Yoh Sen'ei and Maeda Mari

Yoh:  Today many people saw water being sprayed on the reactors from the air and from the ground, but is this effective?

Hirose:  . . . If you want to cool a reactor down with water, you have to circulate the water inside and carry the heat away, otherwise it has no meaning. So the only solution is to reconnect the electricity.  Otherwise it’s like pouring water on lava.

Yoh:  Reconnect the electricity – that’s to restart the cooling system?

Hirose:  Yes.  The accident was caused by the fact that the tsunami flooded the emergency generators and carried away their fuel tanks.  If that isn’t fixed, there’s no way to recover from this accident.

Yoh: Tepco [Tokyo Electric Power Company, owner/operator of the nuclear plants] says they expect to bring in a high voltage line this evening.

Hirose: Yes, there’s a little bit of hope there.  But what’s worrisome is that a nuclear reactor is not like what the schematic pictures show (shows a graphic picture of a reactor, like those used on TV).  This is just a cartoon.  Here’s what it looks like underneath a reactor container (shows a photograph).  This is the butt end of the reactor.  

Take a look.  It’s a forest of switch levers and wires and pipes.  On television these pseudo-scholars come on and give us simple explanations, but they know nothing, those college professors.  Only the engineers know.  This is where water has been poured in.  This maze of pipes is enough to make you dizzy.  Its structure is too wildly complex for us to understand. 

For a week now they have been pouring water through there.  And it’s salt water, right?  You pour salt water on a hot kiln and what do you think happens?  You get salt. The salt will get into all these valves and cause them to freeze.  They won’t move.  This will be happening everywhere.  So I can’t believe that it’s just a simple matter of you reconnecting the electricity and the water will begin to circulate.  I think any engineer with a little imagination can understand this.  You take a system as unbelievably complex as this and then actually dump water on it from a helicopter – maybe they have some idea of how this could work, but I can’t understand it.

Yoh:  It will take 1300 tons of water to fill the pools that contain the spent fuel rods in reactors 3 and 4.  This morning 30 tons.  Then the Self Defense Forces are to hose in another 30 tons from five trucks.  That’s nowhere near enough, they have to keep it up.  Is this squirting of water from hoses going to change the situation?

Hirose:  In principle, it can’t.  Because even when a reactor is in good shape, it requires constant control to keep the temperature down to where it is barely safe.  Now it’s a complete mess inside, and when I think of the 50 remaining operators, it brings tears to my eyes.  I assume they have been exposed to very large amounts of radiation, and that they have accepted that they face death by staying there.  

And how long can they last?  I mean, physically.  That’s what the situation has come to now.  When I see these accounts on television, I want to tell them, “If that’s what you say, then go there and do it yourself!”  Really, they talk this nonsense, trying to reassure everyone, trying to avoid panic.  What we need now is a proper panic.  Because the situation has come to the point where the danger is real. 

If I were Prime Minister Kan, I would order them to do what the Soviet Union did when the Chernobyl reactor blew up, the sarcophagus solution, bury the whole thing under cement, put every cement company in Japan to work, and dump cement over it from the sky.  

Because you have to assume the worst case.  Why?  Because in Fukushima there is the Daiichi Plant with six reactors and the Daini Plant with four for a total of ten reactors.  If even one of them develops the worst case, then the workers there must either evacuate the site or stay on and collapse.  So if, for example, one of the reactors at Daiichi goes down, the other five are only a matter of time.  We can’t know in what order they will go, but certainly all of them will go.  And if that happens, Daini isn’t so far away, so probably the reactors there will also go down.  Because I assume that workers will not be able to stay there. 

I’m speaking of the worst case, but the probability is not low.  This is the danger that the world is watching.  Only in Japan is it being hidden.  As you know, of the six reactors at Daiichi, four are in a crisis state.  So even if at one everything goes well and water circulation is restored, the other three could still go down.  Four are in crisis, and for all four to be 100 per cent repaired, I hate to say it, but I am pessimistic.  If so, then to save the people, we have to think about some way to reduce the radiation leakage to the lowest level possible. 

Not by spraying water from hoses, like sprinkling water on a desert.  

We have to think of all six going down, and the possibility of that happening is not low.  Everyone knows how long it takes a typhoon to pass over Japan; it generally takes about a week.

That is, with a wind speed of two meters per second, it could take about five days for all of Japan to be covered with radiation.  We’re not talking about distances of 20 kilometers or 30 kilometers or 100 kilometers.  It means of course Tokyo, Osaka.  That’s how fast a radioactive cloud could spread. Of course it would depend on the weather; we can’t know in advance how the radiation would be distributed.  It would be nice if the wind would blow toward the sea, but it doesn’t always do that.  Two days ago, on the 15th, it was blowing toward Tokyo.  That’s how it is. . . .

Yoh: Every day the local government is measuring the radioactivity.  All the television stations are saying that while radiation is rising, it is still not high enough to be a danger to health. They compare it to a stomach x-ray, or if it goes up, to a CT scan.  What is the truth of the matter?

Hirose: For example, yesterday.  Around Fukushima Daiichi Station they measured 400 millisieverts – that’s per hour.  With this measurement (Chief Cabinet Secretary) Edano admitted for the first time that there was a danger to health, but he didn’t explain what this means.  All of the information media are at fault here I think.  

They are saying stupid things like, why, we are exposed to radiation all the time in our daily life, we get radiation from outer space.  But that’s one millisievert per year.  A year has 365 days, a day has 24 hours; multiply 365 by 24, you get 8760.  Multiply the 400 millisieverts by that, you get 3,500,000 the normal dose.  You call that safe?  

And what media have reported this?  None.  

They compare it to a CT scan, which is over in an instant; that has nothing to do with it.  

The reason radioactivity can be measured is that radioactive material is escaping.  What is dangerous is when that material enters your body and irradiates it from inside.  

These industry-mouthpiece scholars come on TV and what to they say?  They say as you move away the radiation is reduced in inverse ratio to the square of the distance.  I want to say the reverse.  Internal irradiation happens when radioactive material is ingested into the body.  What happens?  

Say there is a nuclear particle one meter away from you. You breathe it in, it sticks inside your body; the distance between you and it is now at the micron level. One meter is 1000 millimeters, one micron is one thousandth of a millimeter.  That’s a thousand times a thousand: a thousand squared. 

That’s the real meaning of “inverse ratio of the square of the distance.”  Radiation exposure is increased by a factor of a trillion.  Inhaling even the tiniest particle, that’s the danger.

Yoh:  So making comparisons with X-rays and CT scans has no meaning.  Because you can breathe in radioactive material.

Hirose:  That’s right.  When it enters your body, there’s no telling where it will go.  The biggest danger is women, especially pregnant women, and little children.  Now they’re talking about iodine and cesium, but that’s only part of it, they’re not using the proper detection instruments.  What they call monitoring means only measuring the amount of radiation in the air.  Their instruments don’t eat.  What they measure has no connection with the amount of radioactive material. . . .

Yoh:  So damage from radioactive rays and damage from radioactive material are not the same.

Hirose:  If you ask, are any radioactive rays from the Fukushima Nuclear Station here in this studio, the answer will be no.  But radioactive particles are carried here by the air.  When the core begins to melt down, elements inside like iodine turn to gas.  It rises to the top, so if there is any crevice it escapes outside.

Yoh:  Is there any way to detect this?

Hirose: I was told by a newspaper reporter that now Tepco is not in shape even to do regular monitoring.  They just take an occasional measurement, and that becomes the basis of Edano’s statements.  You have to take constant measurements, but they are not able to do that.  

And you need to investigate just what is escaping, and how much.  That requires very sophisticated measuring instruments.  You can’t do it just by keeping a monitoring post.  It’s no good just to measure the level of radiation in the air.  Whiz in by car, take a measurement, it’s high, it’s low – that’s not the point.  We need to know what kind of radioactive materials are escaping, and where they are going – they don’t have a system in place for doing that now.

Douglas Lummis is a political scientist living in Okinawa and the author ofRadical Democracy. Lummis can be reached at

But no matter. As Edward Abbey long ago noted, "The solution to pollution is dilution."

Disaster-Hit Japan Faces Protracted Nuclear Crisis

By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Yoko Kubota

(Reuters) — Japan appeared resigned on Monday to a long fight to contain the world's most dangerous atomic crisis in 25 years after high radiation levels complicated work at its crippled nuclear plant

Engineers have been battling to control the six-reactor Fukushima complex since it was damaged by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami that also left more than 27,000 people dead or missing across Japan's devastated north east.

Radiation at the plant has soared in recent days. Latest readings at the weekend showed contamination 100,000 times normal in water at reactor No. 2 and 1,850 times normal in the nearby sea.

Those were the most alarming levels since the crisis began.

"I think maybe the situation is much more serious than we were led to believe," said one expert, Najmedin Meshkati, of the University of Southern California, adding it may take weeks to stabilize the situation and the United Nations should step in.

"This is far beyond what one nation can handle - it needs to be bumped up to the U.N. Security Council. In my humble opinion, this is more important than the Libya no fly zone."

Under-pressure plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. has conceded it faces a protracted and uncertain operation to contain overheating fuel rods and avert a meltdown.

"Regrettably, we don't have a concrete schedule at the moment to enable us to say in how many months or years (the crisis will be over)," TEPCO vice-president Sakae Muto said in the latest of round-the-clock briefings the company holds.

Though experts said radiation in the Pacific waters will quickly dissipate, the levels at the site are clearly dangerous, and the 450 or so engineers there have won admiration and sympathy around the world for their bravery and sense of duty.

The nuclear crisis is an especially sensitive subject for Japanese given they are the only nation to have been hit by atomic bombs, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Last week, two workers at Fukushima were hurt with radiation to their legs after water seeped over their shoes, and on Sunday engineers had to abandon reactor No. 2 after the new reading.

Further afield, beyond the evacuation zone around Fukushima, there has been plenty of evidence of radiation -- from tap water in Tokyo 240 km (150 miles) south of the nuclear facility to particles found as far away as Iceland.

Japanese officials and international nuclear experts have generally said the levels away from the plant are not dangerous for humans, who anyway face comparable radiation doses on a daily basis from natural substances, X-rays or plane flights.


Two of the plant's six reactors are now seen as safe but the other four are volatile, occasionally emitting steam and smoke.

TEPCO officials indicated the highly contaminated water is probably coming from inside the reactors rather than from pools of spent fuel rods outside.

Experts are anxious to find out whether the reactor cores are broken and leaking, as that could lead to a meltdown.

One long-term solution may be to entomb the Fukushima reactors in sand and concrete as happened at Chernobyl, Ukraine, after the 1986 disaster that was the world's worst.

Yukiya Amano, head of U.N. nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the crisis may drag for weeks or months. "This is a very serious accident by all standards," he told the New York Times. "It is not yet over."

The Japan crisis has prompted a reassessment of nuclear power across the world. It had its most direct political impact yet in foreign politics in Germany at the weekend.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats lost control of Germany's most prosperous state, Baden-Wuerttemberg, as anti-nuclear sentiment benefited her opponents in a regional vote.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has kept a low profile during the crisis, but may face awkward questions after Kyodo news agency said his visit to the region the day after the disaster delayed TEPCO'S response to the unfolding situation.

"The process to release the steam was delayed due to the premier's visit," it quoted an unnamed government source as saying, adding there were fears Kan may be exposed to radiation.


Away from the plant, radioactivity in Japan's air remained in normal ranges.

In downtown Tokyo, a Reuters reading on Sunday afternoon showed ambient radiation of 0.16 microsieverts per hour, below the global average of naturally occurring background radiation of 0.17-0.39 microsieverts per hour.

The nuclear crisis has compounded Japan's agony after the magnitude 9.0 quake and massive tsunami devastated its north east coast, turning whole towns into apocalyptic-looking landscapes of mud and debris.

The latest death toll was 10,804 people, with 16,244 still missing 17 days after the disaster. About a quarter of a million people are living in shelters.

Damage could top $300 billion, making it the world's costliest natural disaster.

(Additional reporting by Chizu Nomiyama, Elaine Lies and Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo, Gerard Wynn in London and Alister Doyle in Oslo, Scott DiSavino in New York, 

by Faye Flam

With attention focused on tons of radioactive spent fuel that may have ignited, some experts say the Japanese will be lucky if the stricken Fukushima plant creates a disaster only the size of Chernobyl in 1986.
Shattered ... a gaping hole in the wall of Fukushima’s No.4 reactor reveals a green crane that is normally used to move spent fuel rods into a storage pond, just out of shot, which has boiled dry. (Photo: AP)These spent fuel rods are now being blamed for the radioactive releases over Japan. While the reactor cores are encased in bulky containment vessels, spent fuel is separated from the environment only by the water in the pools, said former nuclear engineer David Lochbaum of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge, Mass.

That those spent fuel rods were even kept at the Japanese plant is controversial. Some used rods remain hot enough to ignite their metal coatings and release dangerous plumes of radioactive gases and dust.
Critics such as Lochbaum argue this storage system, which is widely used in the United States, poses an unnecessary hazard. Indeed, most of the 62,500 metric tons of spent fuel in the United States is stored in similar pools on site at power plants, including Limerick in Montgomery County, Peach Bottom in York County, Oyster Creek plant in Ocean County, and the Salem and Hope Creek plants in Salem County.
Some experts argue the system is not inherently flawed.
Local nuclear plants are designed to withstand earthquakes, terrorist attacks, and other potential disasters, said Krishna "Kris" Singh, an engineer and chief executive officer of Marlton-based Holtec who designed the nuclear-waste storage systems used in most local plants.
Singh said people in the East should not panic, considering how astronomically unlikely it is that a tsunami or magnitude-9 earthquake would ever hit the Mid-Atlantic region.
His firm has been asked to reevaluate storage pools at the Diablo Canyon plant in California, where such a large quake remains possible. He said that plant's overall design was more earthquake-proof than was Fukushima.
Putting rods in swimming-pool-size concrete tanks was intended only to serve as temporary storage, Lochbaum said. Before the mid-1970s, much of the country's nuclear waste was sent for reprocessing, a type of recycling that has fallen out of favor because it produces weapons-grade plutonium.
Lochbaum said his opposition to the overuse of on-site "wet" storage led him to leave the industry and join the Union of Concerned Scientists, a group focused on nuclear safety and other environmental concerns.
Many pools at U.S. plants routinely store as much as 10 times as much waste as pools at Fukushima.
Singh and other experts said it was too early to tell why the water levels in the spent pools at Fukushima appear to have dropped enough to expose some of the fuel. The thick concrete that contains the water might have been damaged in the earthquake or water may have sloshed out.
The pools are put on the top floor of the reactor buildings - a placement that is considered an engineering choice, according to a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute.
Several of the spent pools at Fukushima were reportedly losing water, but the one at Reactor 4 is causing the most concern because it carries the most fuel and the hottest spent fuel - 135 tons of rods, many of them removed just in December.
Although the fuel in these pools is considered spent, it's still so radioactive that without cooling, it will spontaneously heat up to between 1,500 and 1,800 degrees, enough to ignite the metal cladding that surrounds the fuel pellets. That burning releases explosive quantities of hydrogen gas, which can further damage the fuel and the storage pool.
As the rods heat up, Lochbaum said, gases laced with radioactive substances expand inside the rods. If the metal is breached, these gases are lofted into the atmosphere. If the temperature gets hot enough, fuel pellets will begin to crumble and release dust-size particles containing various radioactive by-products.
According to a briefing by the Physicians for Social Responsibility, those releases can contain strontium-90, which tends to concentrate in bones and cause bone cancer. Some of the fuel at Fukushima contains plutonium, which can cause lung cancer.
Also of grave concern is cesium-137, which has a long half-life and can persist in the environment for more than a century. Cesium-137 released in the Chernobyl disaster rendered huge swaths of the Ukraine uninhabitable.
The United States has never come to any agreement on how to deal with nuclear waste, which can remain radioactive for millions of years.
Singh said he still believed storage in pools can be done safely, especially as technology advances. "Clearly the earthquake was of much greater severity than the plant was designed for," he said.
Singh said his company was creating a new system that would shield the spent fuel. "We're designing it so you'll be able to walk into the building even if you had a horrible scenario like this one," he said.
He has designed aluminum racks that allow U.S. nuclear plants to store many more spent fuel rods in the same pools. Singh's company also supplies a system of dry storage, in which waste is sealed in casks. Lochbaum and others at the Union of Concerned Scientists consider this a much safer alternative in the face of earthquakes, terrorist attacks, or other threats still unknown.
Singh's nuclear-power innovations have led to more than 17 patents. His company's storage systems are used at 80 of the country's 104 nuclear plants. A technological optimist, Singh has recently donated $20 million to his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, for a new building devoted to nanotechnology.
Until the 1970s, spent fuel rods were partially recycled, the various components were separated out, leaving behind weapons-grade plutonium and uranium. But once the United States had enough plutonium to destroy the world 100 times over, the government prohibited reprocessing.
The Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry group, favors a combination of reprocessing, dry storage, and transfer to an ultimate resting place at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. For years, public opposition prevented any waste from being stored there, and in 2009 the Obama administration ruled against using the site. But the utilities and industry group continue to push for it.
Whatever happens to the nuclear-energy industry in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, the 60,000-some metric tons of nuclear waste will remain with us.

Defining Disaster In Japan: Impact On Japanese And Global Electronics Industry Supply Chains

Japan represents 10% to 15% of global electronics demand but 16% to 30% of electronics component supply. OEMs with meaningful cash positions are trying to pull in orders, buying up available component supplies. Taiwan printed circuit board companies like Kinsus and Unimicron could see bigger negative impacts.
The recent earthquake and resulting tsunami impacting Japan have wreaked havoc on the island nation on a grand scale. With the threat of absolute nuclear disaster lurking all eyes are focused on Japan as events continue to unfold.

The earthquake in Japan will spread its shock wave on the world market for electronics and new technologies because the island is both a major producer of televisions, mobile phones or cameras and a provider of essential components.

“We know it’s going to disrupt a part of the global industry in some time,” told AFP Philippe Citroën, managing director of Sony France.

“It is too early to make predictions, but there will be consequences on production” Japanese consumer electronics products, “he says.

In all, six plants in Japan Sony are stopped. One of them, Sendai (northeast), was literally “drowned” by the wave that swept ten meters Friday in the wake of the earthquake, and whether its 1,100 employees are safe, “there major damage, “says Citroën.

“Our factories as Lumix (cameras) or Sanyo not turn anymore, either because they have suffered damage due to earthquakes or tsunamis, either as a precaution because they are located near the nuclear power plant (from Fukushima), “said a French spokesman of the Japanese manufacturer Panasonic.

Manufacture high-tech products like flat-screen TVs or smart phones latest activity is “very clear, matter-tenth or one hundredth of a millimeter,” said an industry expert, who requested anonymity.

However, the earthquake has affected the production machines and “even if it is not broke, one must readjust,” he says. He also advanced the difficulties of transporting the goods due to the earthquake and power outages related to malfunctions of nuclear power plants that can “disrupt production.”

The Japanese groups are not alone in suffering the impact of the disaster of historic proportions that strikes the archipelago.

“A large number of factories making components that feed not only our sites, but also competitors. So we know that it will disrupt part of the global industry in some time,” Mr. tip Citroen.

Thus, some plants manufacturers of semiconductor wafers Shin-Etsu and SUMCO are still detained. These wholesalers electronics account for only 60% of world production.

SUMCO argues that it has several plants producing the same products in unaffected areas, which could take over.

Some components may start to fail badly, however, said Jeremy Davies, CEO of research firm Market IT Context.

This is the case of a resin, the BT substrate, 90% of world production is achieved in Japan and in the composition of the chips such as memory cards. “From what we know, the products most affected are the smart phones and cameras,” suggests Mr Davies.

These chips are mainly manufactured in Taiwan and China. “The Taiwanese have already started looking for who else could supply them,” he says.

Rupture of stocks is not for now because the delivery time by sea, are long. But if no solution is found within three months, the reserves could be depleted, according to some analysts.
“It might then be a shortage of smartphones,” said Mr Davies same.

While most companies report that they are still assessing the damage caused by the most powerful quake in Japanese history, it seems that there have been no deaths, and injuries to camera company employees. Structural damage to company facilities vary. Most companies are subject to rolling blackouts that are being imposed by the Japanese power authorities due to the evolving crisis at the nuclear power plants.

The following is an updated run-down of how the quake has effected manufacturers of photographic and other related products.

Epson announced that the Color Imaging Exhibition trade show, which was planned for March 19-21 in Tokyo, has been cancelled due to the crisis. Epson reports that while no casualties were reported at its facilities, one of its factories was hit by a one-meter tsunami, while three other facilities have been temporarily shut due to rolling blackouts as a result of the quake. Two buildings that are within 16km from the Fukushima nuclear plant have sustained some damage and are being shut for now.

Sony was hardest hit. Japan's biggest exporter of consumer electronics, and a growing player in the still photography world, was forced to stop operations at ten factories and two research centers due to quake-related damage and power outages caused by emergencies at nuclear power plants. 1,000 Sony employees reportedly took shelter on the second floor of a nearby chemical products factory.

Nikon has confirmed light injuries to some of its employees but no serious or fatal injuries. Nikon's Sendai factory, which manufactures the D3S, D3X, D700 and F6, has been forced to close due to damage to equipment and buildings. Work at at least three other facilities has been temporarily suspended so the company can assess damage.

Canon has suspended operations at eight factories located in Northern Japan, and reports at least 15 employees were injured. The company said it may move some production to other factories that weren't damaged.

Sigma employee tweeted that there has been some damage to machinery and the building at Sigma's Aizu factory, but no injuries. Due to the rolling blackouts, Sigma has decided to suspend operations in two of its facilities.

Fujifilm reports that its Taiwa-Cho factory, which is located 20 miles from Sendai, was damaged by the quake, but fortunately none of the workers were reported injured. Production of the FinePix X100, which was being done at that factory, has been temporarily stopped and delays can be expected for this highly-anticipated camera. The company says the rest of its operation is not affected.

Hoya Corporation, which owns Pentax, reports that several employees were slightly injured but none seriously. Some production facilities were damaged, although the company is still trying to assess. It isn't known how the camera and lens facilities have been effeccted but due to traffic problems and blackouts, production has been disrupted.

Casio reports no major injuries, and the company is currently trying to ascertain the condition of its facilities. In the meantime, business activities are expected to be disrupted due to rolling blackouts.

In a statement, Tamron reports no structural damage or injuries, but the rolling blackouts and severely curtailed train service have caused the company to close its facilities for at least the next few days.

Panasonic reports minor injuries in one of its northern Japan factories, in Fukushima, where production of Lumix digital cameras has been suspended. The company is evaluating damage and says the long-term effect is still being determined.

Sandisk, whose facilities are 500 miles from the epicenter, appears to have escaped unharmed. The factories were shut immediately after the quake, but resumed opearations by Friday morning.

However, due to possible meltdowns at several of Japan's nuclear reactors, the Japanese government has instituted rolling blackouts, which are disrupting companies even if they were not otherwise affected by the quake or tzunami.

The tsunami has also destroyed many freighter ships, some of which may have been preparing to ship photographic equipment to destinations around the world. This situation is currently being assessed by the companies, but it is likely there will be shortages of some gear as a result.

Epson, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Ricoh and Nikon have all reported that they have donated hundreds of millions of Yen to the relief effort and are contributing in other tactical ways to help survivors.

The 11 March 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunamis have dealt a devastating blow to Japan, destroying lives, infrastructure, farmland, killing more than 10,000 people and displacing around 2 million (statistics updated), with the full extent of the damage still to be revealed.

Needless to say, the earthquake has also forced hundreds of factories to shut down across Japan, particularly in the affected areas. The delicate nature of electronics production means it is particularly susceptible to tremors and process interruptions.

Sony, for example, has closed six of its manufacturing facilities, and the status of its Sendai Technology Centre is currently unknown. 

Panasonic’s EV Energy plant in Sendai, according to various reports, was destroyed by the tsunami, with a number of employees injured.

Toshiba, Fujitsu, Canon, Epson, Nikon, and Sharp are assessing damage, although almost all electronics manufacturers have shut down production to prevent further damage, or because of power outages.

Sandisk’s statement reported on the two Toshiba-SanDisk joint-venture semiconductor manufacturing plants, Fab 3 and Fab 4, located at Yokkaichi, around 500 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake.

“Both fabs were down for a short period of time due to the earthquake and were back up and operational as of Friday morning…there were no injuries to SanDisk employees,” claimed the statement, “There has been minimal immediate impact on wafer output due to the earthquake.”

Besides direct damage to manufacturing sites, the Sendai earthquake and tsunami have compromised infrastructure like roads, trains and ports, and these are expected to have an impact on supplies to and from factories which are still capable of running.

According to Objective Analysis, global supplies of NAND and DRAM will be affected by the production shutdown in Japan, as it is a significant supplier of those memory chips. For example, it supplies 40 percent of the world’s supply of NAND. This will have a flow-on effect to consumer devices.

However, Micron and Elpida’s DRAM fabrication facilities are not believed to have been directly affected by the devastation.

A recent IHS iSuppli report found Japan supplied around a fifth of the global semiconductor market in 2010, and accounted for around six percent of the world’s production of large-sized LCD screens. As Japan supplies various LCD components as well, that particular class of electronics is expected to be impacted.
Update: Canon has issued a damage report (PDF) detailing the impact of the quake on its facilities and personnel. It suffered power outages, building damage and production stoppage. The Utsunomiya Office, including the plant, optics, optical production plant and optics R&D centre was significantly damaged, with 15 staff members injured.
Update 2: Nikon has also provided notice on the damage to a number of its facilities, with no information on when production will resume. A number of employees were also injured although detailed information is not currently available.

Notice on the damage hit by Major Earthquake in Northern Japan (Japan's Tohoku region)

March 14, 2011
The Nikon Group would like to express its profound sympathy and condolences to the victims of earthquake in Major Earthquake in Northern Japan (Japan's Tohoku region) on March 11. The effects to our group companies are as follows.

1.       Measures to cope with the situations
We have set up the Emergency Headquarters for Disaster Control headed by the President on March 11 immediately after the earthquake, and are taking the necessary steps. We are currently endeavoring to normalize our business as early as possible through our BCM (Business Continuity Management) teams established in each in-house company.

2.      Damage to our group companies
2-1. Damage to equipment and buildings
Our group companies, including Sendai Nikon Corporation, Natori, Miyagi Pref., Miyagi Nikon Precision Co., Ltd., Zao-machi, Katta-gun, Miyagi Pref., Tochigi Nikon Corporation, Otawara, Tochigi Pref., Tochigi Nikon Precision Co., Ltd., Otawara, Tochigi Pref., and other subsidiaries as well as our Plants suffered damage to some part of the equipment and buildings. We are suspending operations there and continuing to evaluate further details of the damage. We are unable to announce how soon the operation will resume due to the regional interruption of life-lines although endeavor for restoration are under the way by some of our maintenance personnel.

2-2. Damage to personnel
Injury is reported to some of our group employees. We are currently continuing to gather safety information of our personnel and its family members.

3.      Forecast of effect by the damage to our business performances
We are concentrated in evaluating how the immediate damage by the disaster and controlled interruption of electricity started from March 14 will result in our group companies and business performances. We will advise our findings immediately when it is revealed that the damage would further expand.

The information is current as of the date of publication. It is subject to change without notice.

Damage Report for Canon Inc. Operations and Canon Companies following Major Earthquake in Japan

The following is a summary overview of damage reported at Canon Inc. operating sites and Canon Group companies in Japan as of 15:00 JST on Sunday, March 13, 2011.
The Company continues working to ascertain damages and determine when operations can resume.
With regard to Canon offices, plants and Canon Group companies in Japan, there have been reports from several sites of power outages, damage to buildings and stoppages in production equipment.
Below is an overview highlighting damage, production outlooks, etc., for sites in northern Honshu (the area hardest hit by the earthquake).
The earthquake had the greatest impact on the following three Canon Inc. operation sites and five Canon Group companies
Damage was significant at Canon Inc.'s Utsunomiya Office and Fukushima Canon Inc.

Canon Inc.
Operation Site
Injuries, etc.
Operations on
March 14
Operations from
March 15 onward
Utsunomiya Office
・ Utsunomiya Plant
・ Utsunomiya Optical 
    Products Plant
・ Optics R&D Center
Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture
Injuries: 15
(However, time will likely be needed before operations resume)
Toride Plant
Toride, Ibaraki Prefecture
Ami Plant
Inashiki-gun, Ibaraki Prefecture

Group Company
Injuries, etc.
Operations on
March 14
Operations from
March 15 onward
Canon Precision Inc.
Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture
Canon Optron, Inc.
Yuki, Ibaraki Prefecture
Canon Chemicals Inc.
    ・ Tsukuba HQ
Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture
Canon Chemicals Inc.
    ・ Iwama Plant
Kasama, Ibaraki Prefecture
Fukushima Canon Inc.
Fukushima, Fukushima Prefecture
(However, time will likely be needed before operations resume)
Canon Mold Co., Ltd.
Kasama, Ibaraki Prefecture

While the earthquake had a slight impact on Canon offices, plants and Group companies in the western half of Honshu, there have been no injuries and no significant damage to buildings or equipment. Accordingly, operations are scheduled to resume as usual beginning Monday, March 14. Additionally, the Company is now working to determine potential impacts in the future.

In the event that production operations may be suspended for one month or more, the Company will consider making use of alternate sites that were not damaged by the earthquake as a means of continuing production.

Japan Earthquake Update: List Of Facilities Impacted

March 15, 2011 - The devastating impact of Japan's earthquake and tsunami are a long way from being tallied; indeed from a human impact perspective it may be impossible to calculate, and our thoughts and hearts go out to friends and colleages in the area.

For those keeping an eye on the situations through an electronics industry lens, we're tracking the earthquake + tsunami'simpact on the semiconductor community (and also what it means to related sectors like solar PV). Here's the most recent running tally of what has happened to a number of key companies:

Nikon: Damage to plants at Sendai Nikon (Miyagi Prefecture, cameras), Nikon Precision (Miyagi and Toshigi Prefectures, IC/LCD steppers), Tochigi Nikon (Tochigi Prefecture, optics/lenses), and other subsidiaries suffering damage to some equipment and buildings. Operations have been suspended, with damage being further evaluated; no timeline offered for return to operation. Some injured employees reported but no specifics.

Canon: Several sites in northern Honshu affecting five of its divisions; "concrete schedules for when production may resume have yet to be determined," the company states. There is "significant" damage at its Utsunomiya site (plant, optical products, optics R&D center) with 15 injuries, and also at Canon's Fukushima plant (the Nikkei daily says this site is without power and major roads nearby are blocked by landslides). Operations also were suspended at the company's plants in Toride and Ami in Ibaraki Prefecture, and operations of its Precision group (Hirosaki/Aomori Prefecture), Optron (Yuki/Ibaraki Prefecture), Chemicals (Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture), and Mold (Kasama/Ibaraki Prefecture).

Hitachi: Damages mainly at production bases in Ibaraki prefecture, spanning its power systems, urban planning, IT/control systems, appliances, and automotive systems. The Nikkei daily quoted a company source saying that with power blackouts, "we've no idea when production will restart."

Freescale Semiconductor: The company has a 150mm plant in Sendai -- among the hardest hit areas -- which reportedly was without power, shut down and evacuated; once power is restored the plant's condition will be evaluated. The site was already slated to be closed in 4Q11.

Texas Instruments: The company's manufacturing site in Miho (40mi NW of Tokyo), which produces about 10% of its output (mostly analog, some DLP), "suffered substantial damage" with damage to infrastructure (chemical, gas, water, air systems) and about 40% of work-in-progress lost; equipment damage is unclear until power is restores. TI plans to return to production in stages from May to mid-July, reaching full shipments in September. Alternative sources amounting to 60% of the Miho wafer production have been identified. TI's fab in Aizu-wakamatsu, about 150mi north of Tokyo, was also damaged but equipment is already being restarted with full production expected by mid-April. A third fab in Hiji (500mi north of Tokyo) was undamaged and is running normally.

Shin-Etsu (SEH): Operations were halted at its sites in Annaka/Gunma Prefecture, Kamisu/Ibaraki Prefecture, and Nishigo Village/Fukushima Prefecture, with three workers "slightly injured." The Gunma sites have passed safety checks and have restarted operations, though may be affected by rolling blackouts; the other two sites are still continuing safety inspections.

Renesas: Production halted at seven of its 22 chip plants: five frontend lines in Aomori, Yamagata, Ibaragi, Gunma, and Yamanashi Prefectures, and two backend lines in Aomori and Yamagata. Eight factories (including some of those) will be impacted by the rolling blackouts.

Sony: Operations at six plants have been suspended in Miyagi, Fukushima, Saitama, and Ibaraki prefectures, spanning everything from semiconductor lasers to Li-ion batteries to surface mounting equipment to optical devices to Blu-ray discs. The Nikkei daily reports that at the latter plant in Miyagi, about 1000 workers had to escape upstairs to the second floor to avoid flooding. Other Sony sites in Tochigi and Kanagawa prefectures voluntarily suspended operations to help alleviate overall power outages.

Panasonic: The company says it is still assessing the quake's full impact on its operations, but said it could not enter an optical pickup plant in Sendai nor a digital camera facility in Fukushima. Supply and distribution is also partly disabled.

Asahi Kasei: The company halted production and evacuated workers at its LSI plant in Miyagi, with damages uncertain; the Nikkei daily did report that there were injuries but did not specify.

JSR: No damage or injuries to the Chiba plant in Ichihara City, which is currently under normal operations, but further impact from energy shortages yet to be calculated. The company's Kashima plant (Ibaragi) halted manufacturing by automated interlocks triggered by the quake, with no physical damages observed (pending physical inspections) but water supply is interrupted with no clarity on restoration. One employee reportedly was injured during repair work.

MEMC: The company's Utsunomiya wafering facility (~130 miles from Sendai) was evacuated with no injuries, with operations suspended pending building and safety inspections and analysis of potential damage. The company is still inspecting and assessing the impact to production and shipments from this facility, but says it does expect near-term shipment delays.

Ulvac: In a letter to customers, president/CEO Hidenori Suwa said there was no serious damage at the company's Fab 1 in Tohoku/Hachinohe Prefecture, but there is water damage to some equipment at its Fab 2 there (no facility-related damage). Other sites in Chigasaki, Aichi, Kyusyu, and elsewhere have not been affected at all. The company expects no disruption of fab operations (current bookings or future parts), except for potential disruptions caused by scheduled power outages caused by the nuclear plant crisis.

On Semiconductor: No power loss and "limited physical damage" at its Aizu plant, and operations shortly resumed at its Niigata plant co-owned with Sanyo Semiconductor. Both sites reported limited damage. Power was lost at the leased Gunma site with production impact still being assessed, and the company's backend sites in Kasukawa and Hanyu resumed March 13 after limited damage.

Tokyo Electron: TEL Hohoku (Oshu city), AT (Matsushima City) and the Technology Development Institute (Sendai City) have suspended operations while damage is investigated, and assessments to gauge resumption of operations.

DNS: Most of the company's semiconductor/FPD/printing operations in southwest Japan (Kyoto and Shiga prefectures) have no damage, and procurement for production "is under control."

Amkor: Unknown extent of damage to subsidiary Amkor Iwate's Kitakami facility, but apparently the site is without power, though employees are apparently safe.

Advantest: Minimal damage to its domestic operations; no serious damage to its R&D facility in Sendai, and facilities in Gunma and Saitama resumed operations on Monday.

Applied Materials: No specifics on any problems at its Japanese operations, though the company says it is already shifting its supply chain sourcing options.

Cabot Microelectronics: No impact to its manufacturing/R&D facilities in Geino, about 500mi from the epicenter, and other administration operations are "generally not impacted."

Formfactor: No damage to its manufacturing and repair facility in Yokohama and repair operations in Hiroshima. The company says its Japan-based suppliers have no significant damage and should resume operations according to local power-usage guidelines.

SanDisk: Of the company's JV with Toshiba in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture (about 500mi from the quake's epicenter), Fab 3 and Fab 4 were shut down "for a short period of time" but were back up and running on Friday, with "minimal immediate impact on wafer output." Spokesperson Mike Wong was quoted saying there was "some loss" of wafers in process.

Elpida Memory: The company's DRAM plant in Hiroshima "suffered little impact" and is operating normally with no lost wafers. A plant in Akita was shut down due to power outage, but equipment wasn't damaged and operations will resume when the power comes back on, the company said. It's still too early to tell what the impact on suppliers is.

Toshiba: A LSI plant in Iwate Prefecture has suspended operations.

UMC: The company's 200mm fab in Chiba Prefecture was evacuated, with no damage to equipment; equipment calibration is ongoing.

Many companies are also digging deep to offer financial assistance:

We have been in communication with several semiconductor industry members in Japan. They share first-hand accounts of the damage in Letter from Japan: Update on infrastructure, fab status after earthquake (this is a letter from Takeshi Hattori, president of Hattori Consulting International) and News from Japan on the Impact of Disasters (this is a blog posted by editor-in-chief Pete Singer, sharing news from Kenji Tsuda).

Sony Ericsson has really affected by the earthquake in Japan. The terrible disaster in Japan not only has terrible consequences for the population as well as many companies as the mobile phone manufacturer Sony Ericsson has been hit by the disaster and has an adverse effect. Many of you probably know that in Japan many electronics industry takes place. Earlier it was known that including Toyota forced to stop production and now, Sony Ericsson also announced in an official statement that the disaster in Japan has adverse effects on production of Swedish-Japanese phone manufacturer. Also, the supply chain has been disrupted and the device manufacturer is now searching for ways to overcome this problem. The 1100 employees who work in Tokyo have the highest priority of course, Sony Ericsson. Fortunately there are no victims in Tokyo where the offices are located. How Sony Ericsson is responding to this terrible event is still unknown. The manufacturer advises regularly with updates about the situation.

The statement:

SONY ERICSSON STATEMENT, 17 March 2011 – Sony Ericsson is closely following the situation in Japan and our thoughts go out to those affected by this tragic event. The safety of our employees remains the highest priority. We have approximately 1100 employees (including consultants) at two offices in Tokyo, and we can confirm that no employees have been injured, and that there is no major damage to our offices.

The affected area in northern Japan supplies a large portion of the world’s electronics industry with components, and the current situation will impact Sony Ericsson’s business.

As part of our business continuity plan, we are in contact with all our key suppliers in the region and we are identifying the possible relocation of certain component manufacturing, and looking at secondary sources of supply. Although the full impact of the current situation on our business will take additional time to assess, Sony Ericsson anticipates disruption to its supply chain operations.

We continue to monitor our supplier situation daily, in real time, and we will keep our operator and retail customers informed about the status of their specific supply.

We will continue to update our communications as we learn more.

Investment Underground took a look at companies affected by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Northeast Japan on Thursday. Here is a list of 8 companies negatively affected by last week's natural disaster.

Toyota Motors (TM): The international automotive design and manufacturing giant produces the reliable Prius to the status-symbol Lexus. Toyota announced on its website the suspension of all production at its motor plants and subsidiary plants in Japan for Monday, March 14, 2011. The corporation has a market cap of 134.29B. It reports total revenue at 236.80B with a return on assets of 1.10%. The dividend yield is 1:10% with a dividend rate of 0.95.

Sony Corporation (SNE): The leading audio-video, consumer electronics company is headquartered in Tokyo. The producer of 3-D TV technology has a market cap of 33.60B. It reports $78 billion in annual sales for the last fiscal year ending in March 31, 2010. Sony holds total revenue at 88.24B with a return on assets of 1.58%. The average five-year dividend yield stands at 0.60%. The earthquake and tsunami hit the region of Tohoku, a vital Sony manufacturing site that employs a large contingent of workers.

Honda Motor Company (HMC): A principal in the automotive and racing car industry, the company has ubiquitous presence in hybrids, SUV’s, motorcycles and racing vehicles. Honda operates numerous power plants in the earthquake-damaged area of Tochigi. One male was killed at the Tochigi R&D Center. Meanwhile, more than 30 workers have been injured from the collapsed ceilings. At least four of its plants will remain closed through Monday. With a market cap at 35.81B, its stocks have dropped 2.43% since market closed on Friday. It commands 108.60B in total revenue. Its last released dividend amount is 0.1115.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial (MTU): The dominant financial services corporation manages investments and offers a variety of services including banking, credit, loans, trusts and securities for both individual and corporate clients in Japan and worldwide. Its market cap is 72.12B. The total revenue stands at 47.03B.

Nomura Holdings, Inc. ADR America (NMR): The international investment banking and securities firm juggles financial services for three areas: retail, wholesale and asset management. Market cap totals20.81B. The corporation has total revenue of 13.38B.

Canon, Inc. (CAJ): A global manufacturer and designer of cameras and digital imaging technology, commands 44.71B in total revenue. Market cap stands at 55.92B. Its forward annual dividend rate is 1.17 and dividend yield is 2.50%. As of Sunday, March 13, 2011, the company reports several power outages and damage to its centers in Japan including three operating sites and five Canon group companies and two offices. Eight operation sites (plants, companies, offices) in earthquake-ravaged northern Honshu area are reported to be shut down for March 14, 2011.

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT): The top telecommunication company offers private and commercial services (network, mobile, etc.) in Japan. Its market cap is 63.67B. It has 123.01B in total revenue. There is no dividend. The company arranged an emergency hotline and internet site for citizens to leave a message for family and friends after the quake. Call restrictions were set up to prevent equipment overloading. The company is checking into damages to its sites.

Panasonic Corporation (PC): This designer and maker of audio-video consumer products and blu-ray technology has a market cap of 26.35B. Its revenues over the last 12 months are 106.77B. Production at one of its facilities shared with Toyota Motors Company (TM) was halted.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Many factories were closed immediately following the quake, and most have been gradually returning to production in the last week. A handful of plants were hit harder and could be offline for months.

Companies face a daunting task.

Japan's biggest earthquake ever recorded, and the tsunami it spawned, left more than 10,000 people dead and an even larger number missing; several nuclear power plants remain in emergency condition and continue to spew radioactive contamination to the environment; hundreds of thousands are homeless; and the economy is being forced to adapt to power failures and supply disruptions. The end of the disaster is still not in sight.

For IT companies, the loss of production at these plants could have widespread effects on the electronics industry.

Texas Instruments' plant in Miho, northeast of Tokyo, is one of the factories that was hard hit. The plant, which produced chips and DLP devices for projectors, suffered "substantial damage" and it won't be until May when partial production resumes. Full production is not due until mid-July, and that could be further delayed by power problems, the company said.

Toshiba estimates production at its mobile phone display factory in Saitama, north of Tokyo, will be stopped for a month because of damage sustained in the earthquake.

Further north in Miyagi prefecture, a number of factories near the quake-hit city of Sendai suffered high levels of damage.

A Sony plant responsible for magnetic tape and Blu-ray Discs was inundated with water when a tsunami washed through the town of Tagajyo and is one of six Sony plants currently idle. Two Nikon plants were severely damaged and won't be back online until at least the end of March. And Fujitsu's major chip plant in Aizu Wakamatsu is still closed with no estimate of when production will begin again.

But some of the potentially biggest disruptions could come from the closure of two plants run by Shin-Etsu Chemical. Although not a well-known name to consumers, the company is a major supplier of silicon wafers. One of the halted plants, its Shirakawa facility in Fukushima prefecture, is responsible for around 20 percent of the world's supply of such wafers, according to IHS iSuppli.

"The wafers made by this facility mainly are used in the manufacturing of memory devices, such as flash memory and DRAM," said Len Jelinek, an IHS iSuppli analyst, in a statement. "Because of this, the global supply of memory semiconductors will be impacted the most severely of any segment of the chip industry by the production stoppage."

The knock-on effects of the quake to the global supply chain are already being felt.
Sony suspended production of Bravia LCD televisions, digital cameras and other products at five factories far from the quake zone because it can't get raw materials and components. Suppliers are unable to deliver because of either quake and tsunami damage or because of disruptions to the distribution network.

Industries beyond consumer electronics are also likely to feel the effects of these problems.

The automobile industry is a big customer of chip companies and the products it buys are often custom-made.

"Products like microcontrollers and DSPs can't simply be swapped out for another chip, whether from the same vendor or another," said Tom Starnes, an embedded processor analyst at Objective Analysis in Austin, Texas. "The programs aren't easily transferable between processors, and even changing other chips like analog may introduce cost, quality, or reliability issues not originally anticipated."

The long-term effect on Japanese electronics manufacturers and the supply chain remains difficult to gauge. Several major companies have said they will delay the hiring of new workers, usually done on April 1, and some have adjusted or canceled dividend payments to shareholders. While a nascent recovery appears to be underway and some factories are coming back online, it will be weeks before the full extent of damage to the global IT supply chain becomes clearer.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is

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Analysts and investors said that Tokyo Electric Power, Toshiba, JR East in Japan, and Shin-Etsu Chemical suffered the worst loss in the earthquake of Japan.

Minoru Matsuno, president of Tokyo Value Search Asset Management company, said that Tokyo Electric Power will face a great cost of reconstruction, while Toshiba’s nuclear business will come under stricter regulation in future. Except these companies, the Nippon Steel, Suzuki and Canon and other companies said that the company operations has been under the impact of the earthquake on Sunday.

Minoru Matsuno, president of Tokyo Value Search Asset Management company, said: “the future situation will be very bad for Tokyo Electric Power and other companies to carry out nuclear energy business. My biggest fear is that what would happen with nuclear power plant, if there is another Chernobyl Bailey event, it would be a real disaster. ”

Naoto Kan, Japanese Prime Minister, has asked Toshiba President Norio Sasaki to assist in taking measures to prevent leakage of radioactive material of Fukushima nuclear power plant. Toshiba spokesman, Takashi Mizuno, confirmed the meeting between Kan and Norio Sasaki, but he did not disclose the main issues the two sides discussed. Toshiba said that it has shut down the semiconductor factory in Iwate Xian of northern Japan on last week.

Shin-Etsu Chemical, silicon wafer manufacturer, said last week that the company has closed several factories. The company will recover factory operations after safety checks and the execution of relevant measures.

Klaus Lingle, Credit Agricole Cheuvreux analyst, said Sumco Corp and Shin-Etsu Chemical occupy 60% in the global electronics silicon market share. operating problems of the two companies will lead to a greater impact on global supply of silicon, while the third-largest manufacturer, Wacker Chemie, will benefit from it.

Sony said on Sunday that it has suspended the operation of 8 plants, and these plant products, including Blu-ray discs, magnetic heads and batteries. Element largest financial holding analyst, Dennis Chen, stated that share of Sony in the global notebook battery market is about 10% at present.

Japan’s earthquake not only caused heavy losses on its domestic economy, but also to the global industrial chain debilitating. Number of manufacturing lithium batteries, flash memory, an important plant production disruptions, the semiconductor industry in the upstream supply was cut off, the next period of time laptops, iPhone and other electronic products supply directly affected; Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Japan’s Big Three automakers plant to temporarily suspend production, the share price diving; Mitsubishi, Mitsui and other major chemical off the Japanese mainland, the global ethylene supply tight, prices of related plastic bullish.

Sony lithium batteries in the production of large earthquake seriously affected. March 11 the company said in a statement, the company has closed in the northeastern part of Japan’s six factories, including Tome City, Miyagi Prefecture two factories, Taga City factory, Whitehead City factory, Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture plant and the house plants, six plants have been in the safe evacuation of all employees. It is reported that Sony shut down six factories mainly produce lithium batteries, Blu-ray discs, magnetic heads and other products.

China pointed out that Taiwan notebook manufacturers, including batteries, hard drives, memory, etc. The key components of notebook PCs in Japan is highly dependent on imports, especially lithium batteries supplied by Sony and Sanyo mainly two major Japanese suppliers. However, the two Sony lithium battery is located in Fukushima plant shutdown, will seriously affect the supply of lithium batteries. Fukushima nuclear power plant with severely damaged, the power supply is difficult to solve in the short term, both Sony lithium battery production plants take time to reply. And another big Sanyo lithium battery production line is located near Kobe in Japan Xijing off, is also affected by the stop-powered, but the situation is ideal to be than Sony.

In order to maintain lithium battery supply, try to Taiwan notebook makers in mainland China, Korea and other lithium battery suppliers, including BYD, Samsung, LG and other companies will benefit.

Japan’s semiconductor production chain in Northeast China in the earthquake disaster damaged. Northeastern Japan is the semiconductor industry production chain, the upstream concentration of material, after the earthquake, accounting for over half the world supply of semiconductor silicon wafer Shin-Etsu, SUMCO limited production two Japanese suppliers, including silicon wafer subsidiary of Shin-Etsu’s Shin-Etsu Shirakawa semiconductor factory has ceased. And including Renesas, Toshiba, Sony, Fujitsu, OKI and other semiconductor manufacturers, both in northeastern Japan with fab or packaging and testing plant, related factories were due to power failure or earthquake shocks and suspension, which accounts for the global flash Memory (NANDflashmemory) market share of 35% in Iwate Toshiba’s semiconductor plant north out of business listed. The earthquake intensity is too strong, the local wafer fragment issue will be very serious, after shifting the machine to the past to restore the normal production capacity, at least 1-2 months.

Market research firm iSuppli analyst LenJelinek that the earthquake in Japan may be next quarter of the entire semiconductor supply chain to cause considerable impact. Japan-based manufacturers of semiconductor chips created in 2010 approximately 63.8 billion U.S. dollars in revenue, accounting for the global semiconductor market is about 1 / 5. NAND flash memory, Apple iPhone, iPad and other popular electronic products, the core of the next period of time will face supply shortages, price rise issue. Currently, the front of the silicon semiconductor manufacturing chain, and chemical materials suppliers face fracture, the local production chain in Japan, clear victimization before the DRAM and NAND products, Asia-Pacific region have stopped offer. The industry expects the short term, the Japanese semiconductor industry rely on our support for Taiwan’s semiconductor production chain to maintain production.

In addition, the earthquake also caused the global impact of the smartphone industry. Japan tantalum capacitor, passive component maker Murata (Murata) located in the vicinity of Japan, Miyagi Prefecture and three plants have been shutdown, damage remains to clarify the situation, which includes three factories produced EMI Suppression Filters , MLCC, surface acoustic wave filters, these devices are mainly used in high-end smart phones, mobile phone giant Nokia is the world’s production of the large customers.

Apple iPhone, including high-end smart phones, including tantalum capacitors used in follow-up supply situation is not optimistic. Japanese maker Holy Stone is located in Fukushima Prefecture tantalum capacitor factory has ceased.

(Don’t Hold Your Breath!)

Japan earthquake forced SONY (Sony), TOSHIBA (Toshiba), Renesas and other Japanese semiconductor manufacturers to stop production, according to forecasts shipments of electronic products in Japan will be postponed at least four weeks.

First, plant and personnel damage. The earthquake hundreds of miles of the coast of Japan, had a disastrous, is located in those areas with many major chip production plant, most of which are the main flash memory chip plant in Japan, part of the plant severely affected, in addition, Sony has shut down six plants in the north, workers have been evacuated, there is no personnel casualties were reported.

Second, in addition to plant damage caused by interruption outside, road, rail, sea and air transport interruption to the product in Japan and abroad has brought great impact on transport, in the Tohoku region and the Kanto region and the suburban railway line of the Shinkansen stops movement, many highways in northern earthquake ground cracking, the railway all outages, many airports have been closed. After the earthquake, the Tokyo area and all of the mobile communication disruption affected supplies of raw materials, factory production of finished products can not be transported to the airport or port. As Japan’s position in the global industrial chain is extremely important, so the supply chain will be in a few months the crisis to the Japanese manufacturers and global manufacturers to bring losses.

Again, limited power of the earthquake, some factories have lost the power supply, rolling blackouts implementation of the plan is expected to give the Japanese economy and social aspects of a huge negative impact. Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan’s Toshiba chip factories have production disruptions due to power outage. In addition, space satellite factories Mitsubishi Group, Japan, Mitsukoshi Isetan department stores, car tycoon Toyota and Honda also due to earthquake-hit parts supply areas were forced to close several factories. The other near the earthquake epicenter, the chip manufacturers including Freescale Semiconductor, located in Sendai, Japan, a manufacturer of micro-controller factory. The factory has an effective evacuation of personnel, the plant is currently not restore power supply.

In addition, the earthquake also spread to Japan, some large global manufacturer of consumer electronics chip supply, and may further result in the chip supply shortages. Japanese chip companies worldwide chip market sales accounted for about one-fifth of sales, while the earthquake in the global chip market selling NAND flash memory chip products, the impact of the most serious, because the NAND flash memory is included, including the Apple iPhone and iPad global best-selling core components of electronic products. Therefore, the market selling Apple products iPhone4, iPad2 may be in short supply situation.

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