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Japan CE Firms Assessing Earthquake Damage

New York – Multiple reports out of Japan following the
8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan, and the subsequent
tsunami, cite damage to some CE companies’ facilities, as well as halts in
production due to power outages and damage to transportation infrastructures.

The earthquake struck toward the end of the workday on
Friday in Japan, local time.

Sony evacuated six facilities in northeastern Japan,
Yasuhiro Okada, a Sony spokesman, told Bloomberg News. The spokesman said Sony was
assessing the impact of power outages and damage to its facilities in the
region, which make Blu-ray discs, magnetic heads and batteries.

A Panasonic spokesman in Tokyo said several employees at its
three factories in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures sustained minor injuries.
The company is still assessing the damage to facilities, the report said.

A Canon spokesman said the company did not suffer damage to
plants in the region that would halt output.

Sharp only said that is was still assessing damage, and
Epson said that it was still gathering information.

Amid fears that supplies of crucial technical components
made in Japan could be hit, mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson said it was in
close contact with its Japanese suppliers and so far there were no reports of
major damage. The company said its about 1,100 employees at two offices in
Tokyo were unhurt and the buildings undamaged.

Nokia said it was still assessing the commercial impact of
the earthquake and the status of its subcontractors was so far unclear. The
Finnish company has no manufacturing facilities but sources components from
subcontractors in the country, a spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires.

Two of Japan’s major cellular phone carriers, NTT DoCoMo and
Softbank, reported cellphone service disruptions and Nippon Telephone &
Telegraph said that landline calls to several regions, including Tokyo, are

According to a Bloomberg report, Samsung Electronics said it
expects today’s earthquake in Japan to have minimal impact on the company’s
production schedule. Some of Samsung’s photo equipment was momentarily halted
at 2:54 p.m. local time to avoid malfunction and operations returned to normal
by 4:30 p.m., the company said in an emailed statement.

To indicate the severity of the situation, TWICE executive editor
Greg Tarr reported that he received this email from a former Sony employee: “We
just set up this quick website for friends, former employees and anyone that
has ever been connected to Sony,” called

The former employee said in the email that the site is “for
anyone that wants to donate directly to Sony in their time of need. Other than
the cost to set up the website and fee … 100 percent of the funds will be given
directly to Sony to distribute to employees and families of employees as they
see fit. Also, throughout the day we will be reaching out to as many companies
as we can where former Sony employees currently work and look for donations and
matching programs.”

Infrastructure issues will likely affect production
facilities in the near-term. Various reports said nuclear power stations were
shut down. Tokyo’s Narita airport is closed, as is the airport in Sendai, north
of Tokyo, and commuter rail service, including the bullet train and Tokyo’s
Metro subway, have been suspended.

More than 4 million homes were without power, Tokyo Electric
Power Co. said. –

Reporting by John Laposky, Greg Tarr and Steve Smith