Japan earthquakes disrupt electronics supply chain

A major Sony camera sensor factory is offline after a series of quakes

A series of powerful earthquakes that shook southwest Japan has also disrupted the electronics supply chain. Sony, Mitsubishi Electric and chip-maker Renesas are among the companies with factories in the area.

On Thursday evening local time, Kumamoto prefecture was hit by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake, the first of many to rock the area. Early Saturday morning, a more powerful magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck, triggering a tsunami advisory and several strong aftershocks.

At least four people died as a result of the Saturday morning quake, according to NHK television, and helicopter TV images showed damaged and collapsed buildings. Thursday's quakes had already killed nine people and left more than 1,000 injured.

Sony suspended work at its Kumamoto factory that produces digital image sensors. These are key components in cameras and smartphones, including Apple's iPhone. A prolonged suspension of production could have a knock-on effect on the availability of products in stores, but it's too early to tell if there will be any such effect.

A 2011 earthquake in eastern Japan caused major disruption to the electronics industry after factories suspended operations for weeks, but the scale of this week's earthquakes, while serious, was smaller.

Renesas Electronics and Mitsubishi Electric have neighboring plants in Kumamoto, the former making automotive chips and the latter power devices. Operations were suspended at both plants as a result of the earthquakes, Japanese media said.

Mitsubishi Electric also suspended an LCD parts facility and a semiconductor plant in the area.

The Saturday morning earthquake was determined to be the main shock and Thursday evening's was a precursor to it, the Japan Meteorological Agency said early Saturday.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleiPhonePCRenesasComponentselectronics supply chainearthquakes

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?