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 PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags ApplePCmobilityiPhoneelectronics supply chainRenesasComponentsearthquakes

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?