TOKYO — Electronics giant Sony Corp said a factory producing image sensors for Apple Inc and other smartphone makers will remain closed while it assesses the damage from two deadly earthquakes which hit southern Japan.
Sony said it will extend the closure of its image sensor plant in Kumamoto, which is in the southern island of Kyushu, after major tremblors on Thursday and Saturday rocked the key manufacturing region.
The PlayStation maker said operations at its image sensor plant in Nagasaki, also in Kyushu, will be partially suspended and does not yet have a timeline for full resumption of operations.
Sony controls about 40 percent of the market for complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors, a type of integrated circuit that converts light into electrical signals. The sensors are used in Apple’s iPhones.
“We are still checking for potential damage to the plants, which usually operate on a 24-hour basis,” a Sony spokesman told Reuters on Saturday. “We do not yet know how the closures will impact supply to customers like Apple.”
A devastating earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan in March 2011 temporarily knocked out part of Japan’s auto supply chain. Some companies have since adjusted the industry’s “Just in Time” production philosophy to limit any repeat of that costly disruption.
Other electronics makers were also forced to stop production in Kyushu, which has grown as a manufacturing hub over the past two decades. Kyushu accounts for roughly 25 percent of semiconductor output in Japan by some estimates.
Renesas Electronics Corp closed its Kumamoto plant, which produces microcontroller chips for automobiles. It will not resume production until it completes its damage assessment.
Mitsubishi Electric Corp halted production at its two Kumamoto plants which produce liquid crystal display modules among other things. It has no timeline for resuming production.
Saturday’s natural disaster also impacted major automakers, which had just stopped their production lines to inspect for any damage from Thursday’s earthquake.
Honda Motor Co Ltd halted production at its Kumamoto motorcycle plant, which has annual production capacity of 250,000. It said it will keep production on hold through Monday.
Toyota Motor Corp halted production at three plants producing vehicles, engines and trans axles in Fukuoka. Toyota said there was no damage at its plants, but it was checking the status of its suppliers. It will decide on Sunday whether to resume production.
Nissan Motor Co Ltd stopped production at its Fukuoka plant which produces vehicles including the Serena, Teana, Murano and Note.
Kumamoto prefecture accounts for about 1.1 percent of Japanese GDP, compared to the combined 6.2 percent of the four prefectures which suffered the heaviest damage from the 2011 natural disaster, according to strategists at Barclays.
“A relatively higher proportion of Kyushu’s economic activity takes place within the region itself. Therefore economic impact on the rest of Japan stemming from any damages to Kyushu’s manufacturing activity will be limited,” Barclays wrote in a note to clients.
The magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck southern Japan early on Saturday killed at least 29 people, injured many more and trapped people in collapsed buildings, just over a day after a quake killed nine people in the same region.
The natural disaster has also hit economic activity in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu which hosts a number of manufacturers.
Below is a list of key companies affected by the quakes and the status of their facilities as reported by Reuters and other media.
* Sony Corp. halted production of image sensors at its plant in Kumamoto. It is inspecting the plant and does not have a timeline for resuming production yet.
* Honda Motor Co. Ltd halted production at its motorcycle plant in Kumamoto with an annual production capacity of 250,000. It will keep production on hold through Monday.
* Toyota Motor Corp. halted production at three plants producing vehicles, engines and transaxles in Fukuoka. It will decide on Sunday whether to resume production.
* Nissan Motor Co. Ltd halted production at its Fukuoka plant which produces vehicles including the Serena, Teana, Murano and Note.
* Renesas Electronics Corp. closed its plant in Kumamoto, which produces microcontroller chips for automobiles. It will not resume production until completing the assessment for potential damage.
* Mitsubishi Electric Corp. halted production of its two plants in Kumamoto which produce parts including liquid crystal display modules. It has no timeline for resuming production.
* Tokyo Electron Ltd. halted production of semiconductors its Kumamoto plant and is currently assessing the damage.
* Medical technology company Hoya Corp. halted production of photomasks and other products at its Kumamoto plant. It is mulling sending production elsewhere.
* Tyre maker Bridgestone Corp. halted production at its Kumamoto plant and will resume production once the situation is assessed.
* Suntory Beverage and Food Ltd. halted production of beer and other drinks at its plant in Kumamoto.
* Yamazaki Baking Co Ltd., which had resumed production after halting in wake of the quake on Thursday, again stopped bread production at its Kumamoto plant.