updated 08:10 am EST, Fri March 11, 2011
Japan quake hits Sony, Panasonic, possibly Nikon
The 8.9 magnitude earthquake Japan may have had a major impact on the technology industry in addition to the more important loss of life and property. Sony said it had stopped production in six of its northeastern factories, which produce Blu-ray discs, magnetic heads for hard drives and batteries. It didn't estimate the impact, but it could affect games, movies and computers.
Canon and Panasonic were within range of the earthquake, but the effect has varied. Panasonic's plants further north in Japan, in Fukushima and Miyagi, saw some injuries, but it wasn't certain if the damage would be enough to halt production. Canon was confident it could keep producing cameras and other products at its plants.
Nikon hadn't issued a statement, but one of its major plants might be affected. It has a camera factory in Sendai, 111 miles west from the epicenter. Car manufacturers have been some of the hardest hit, as Honda, Nissan, Subaru's parent Fuji Heavy Industries, and Toyota had to shut down two, four, five and three factories respectively.
The halted production and any long-term production issues could have a ripple effect. Many computer and mobile device builders, including Apple, Dell, and others, often source digital imaging and storage parts out to Japan.
Our thoughts chiefly go out to those who lost family or friends and have suffered injuries.