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Update: How the Earthquake has Impacted the Japanese Camera Industry

Update: How the Earthquake has Impacted the Japanese Camera Industry

Earlier, we linked about how Japan's earthquake has affected the camera industry, and now we've found more comprehensive news over at Adorama's news desk's special report:

Epson announced that the Color Imaging Exhibition trade show, which was planned for March 19-21 in Tokyo, has been cancelled due to the crisis. Epson reports that while no casualties were reported at its facilities, one of its factories was hit by a one-meter tsunami, while three other facilities have been temporarily shut due to rolling blackouts as a result of the quake. Two buildings that are within 16km from the Fukushima nuclear plant have sustained some damage and are being shut for now.

Sony was hardest hit. Japan's biggest exporter of consumer electronics, and a growing player in the still photography world, was forced to stop operations at ten factories and two research centers due to quake-related damage and power outages caused by emergencies at nuclear power plants. 1,000 Sony employees reportedly took shelter on the second floor of a nearby chemical products factory.

Nikon has confirmed light injuries to some of its employees but no serious or fatal injuries. Nikon's Sendai factory, which manufactures the D3S, D3X, D700 and F6, has been forced to close due to damage to equipment and buildings. Work at at least three other facilities has been temporarily suspended so the company can assess damage.

Canon has suspended operations at eight factories located in Northern Japan, and reports at least 15 employees were injured. The company said it may move some production to other factories that weren't damaged.

Olympus's photographic division was not affected by the quake, but some emplyees at other locations sustained minor injuries, possibly in the company's endoscopy-related business. Japanese-language press releases indicate that a repair facility is expected to resume operations in 2-4 weeks.

A Sigma employee tweeted that there has been some damage to machinery and the building at Sigma's Aizu factory, but no injuries. Due to the rolling blackouts, Sigma has decided to suspend operations in two of its facilities.

Ricoh reports no injuries. Five of its facilities have stopped operations and four have no set plan to reopen.

Fujifilm reports that its Taiwa-Cho factory, which is located 20 miles from Sendai, was damaged by the quake, but fortunately none of the workers were reported injured. Production of the FinePix X100, which was being done at that factory, has been temporarily stopped and delays can be expected for this highly-anticipated camera. The company says the rest of its operation is not affected.

Read the report over at Adorama for more details. Various companies have issued their own press statements, including Canon and Nikon, which has announced the re-opening of the Sendai factory responsible for their pro FX DSLR cameras, but warns that:

Even after operation resumes, we have a concern that the situation may happen where our production cannot fully satisfy our customers’ requirement due to inability of full swing production caused by problems such as the planned blackouts of electricity and procurement of components from our business partners. While we will do our utmost effort to overcome such expected difficulties, we will be most grateful if our customers could understand such circumstances.

Beyond the camera industry, the damaged locations and infrastructure might hit other tech industries' supply chains worldwide, according to an early report by the New York Times:

But, says Tony Fadell, a former senior Apple executive who led the iPod and iPhone design teams, “there are all kinds of little specialized parts without second sources, like connectors, speakers, microphones, , batteries and sensors that don’t get the love they deserve. Many are from Japan.”

Lacking some part, even if it costs just dimes or a few dollars, can mean shutting down a factory, Mr. Fadell adds.

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