Japan's tech industry disrupted by earthquakes
April 18, 2016 // 12:17 p.m.
A pair of major earthquakes in south-west Japan are likely to have a knock-on effect for the electronics industry, with companies including Sony and Mitsubishi confirming that they are temporarily closing facilities in the area.
Late last week, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit the area around Kumamoto prefecture in south-western Japan and was followed over the weekend by a second 7.3-magnitude earthquake and subsequent Tsunami warning. At least 29 people have been confirmed dead as a result, with a further 80 serious injuries, 1,500 less serious injuries, and the evacuation of 70,000 people from their homes in the area announced by local authorities.
While the human tragedy is undeniably the biggest issue resulting from the quakes, it will have a further knock-on effect for the electronics and automotive industries. The area affected plays host to manufacturing facilities for several major Japanese companies including a Sony image processor plant used to produce chips for digital cameras and smartphones, LCD and semiconductor plants owned by Mitsubishi, and a plant used to create automotive electronics components by Renesas.
Thus far, it is not known for how long the plants will be closed, nor whether the closures will remain in effect long enough to have a noticeable impact on pricing or availability of components at the retail level.