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Latest From Japanese CE Makers On Quake Effects


New York – Updated
reports have begun to come in from Japan from Sony, Panasonic, Canon, Olympus
and Toshiba on the aftermath of Friday’s horrific earthquake and resulting

Corporation of North America’s Consumer Electronics Company told TWICE that it
has three manufacturing plants in northeastern Japan near the epicenter of
today’s earthquake but that the buildings are intact and most employees are

Several employees
had minor injuries at the three plans, but there were no deaths or severe
injuries, according to a Panasonic spokesperson in the U.S.

The three plants,
which are located in Sendai, the largest city in the area, and Fukushima had
“mostly damaged ceilings, some damage to walls… but the buildings are
intact and there were no fires,” the spokesperson said. The three plants
manufacture components for digital cameras, optical pickups for Blu-ray and DVD
decks and other components, he reported.

There was no
damage at Panasonic’s headquarters in Osaka on the west coast of Japan and its
Tokyo offices continue to operate.

When asked about
senior executives with Panasonic North America, the spokesperson said that
there were employees traveling overseas but that all have been accounted for
and are safe.

corporate public relations department in Japan said in an informal statement
that there was no damage to its CE facilities or to their employees.

As reported
earlier by TWICE Sony said the disaster forced the closure of six factories and
stranded hundreds of employees.

According to a
Sony spokesperson, headquarters employees in the Tokyo area who were able to
walk back home were allowed to do so around 5 p.m. Friday afternoon. Employees
commuting from a distant area were allowed to remain in the office overnight.

At the end of the
day, approximately 3,000 employees remained in the company’s headquarters

The spokesperson
said a few railways had resumed service in the early evening hours, giving at
least some a means of returning home.

“We have
offered our biggest meeting space on the second floor (approximately a
350-person capacity) to refugees in Shinagawa district who have no way to go
back home for the night,” the spokesperson said.

In the North
Region (including Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures), six factories were shut
down and evacuated, with all employees reportedly safe.

Three of the
damaged factories were managed by Sony Chemical & Information Device
(SCID), one was run by Sony Shiraishi Semiconductor and two were run by Sony
Energy Devices.

The SCID facility
manufactures IC cards (Felica cards), magnetic tapes, Blu-ray discs and various

Sony Shiraishi
Semiconductor manufactures semiconductor lasers for Blu-ray players and other

Two factories
located in Fukushima belonging to Sony Energy Devices, produce lithium-ion
rechargeable batteries.

Another factory in
Miyagi (SCID Tagajo-factory) sustained ground floor flooding from the tsunami,
Sony said.

Approximately 1,000
employees at that factory, which also produces Blu-ray discs and magnetic tape,
were evacuated to the second and third floors, the company said.

“We are not
able to accurately identify the [full extent of the] damage to our factories at
this moment,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile Canon
and Olympus reported minimal damage.

Canon USA
president Joe Adachi said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone
affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. This is a terrible tragedy,
and we extend our heartfelt condolences to those who have lost loved ones. We
remain in close contact with Canon Inc., which is based in Tokyo, approximately
200 miles from the epicenter.

“At this
time, preliminary reports are that there have been a limited amount of injuries
at our Utsunomiya Office, located in Tochigi prefecture, and there has been a
limited amount of damage to our facilities. Our colleagues and extended
families in Japan are very much in our thoughts and we will support them in any
way that we can.”

A spokesman for
Olympus America reported, “Our colleagues are safe and have reported only
minor structural damage in some Olympus facilities located outside of Tokyo. We
do not expect that manufacturing of Olympus products will be impacted.”

In the U.S.,
retail reaction was muted. In a statement, Best Buy said it has “been in close
contact with our business partners in Japan and wish them the best as they cope
with this tragic event.” No employees were directly affected by the earthquake,
the company said.

Best Buy added
that is “standing by, waiting for direction from the Red Cross, on how we might
best support the people of Japan as they recover from this disaster … Our
heartfelt sympathy goes to the people of Japan. 
Our prayers and thoughts are with everyone affected by this disaster.”

Elsewhere, a link
on’s home page takes customers to a microsite where they can make
donations to the

American Red Cross’s Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami
Relief Fund

using the e-tailer’s Amazon Payments money transfer system. has
similarly added a link to the

American Red Cross

on its home page.

Other companies
continue to report in, so visit

for further updates.

– Reporting
by Greg Tarr, Doug Olenick, Steve Smith and Alan Wolf