Global Sources
EE Times-Asia
Stay in touch with EE Times Asia
EE Times-Asia > Controls/MCUs

Electronics companies affected by Japan quake, tsunami

Posted: 16 Mar 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Japan earthquake? tsunami? wafer fabs? northeastern Japan?

A powerful earthquake rocked northeast Japan last Friday, triggering a tsunami and resulting in loss of lives and properties. Immediately following the quake, tsunami alerts were issued in countries around the Pacific rim, specifically the U.S. and Canada, and the Pacific islands.

Japan tsunami

Source: BBC News

The earthquake was 8.9 in magnitude and struck at 14:46 local time (05:46 GMT) under the ocean 400km northeast of Tokyo, according to reports. The shock has caused fires in Tokyo and elsewhere, and thousands of people are reported dead, according to BBC News. The death toll is expected to rise. The map from the BBC website shows the epicenter on the earthquake about 130km due east of Sendai.

The widespread damage and flooding that have resulted are expected to severely curtail technology manufacturing, at least for a period. Several chip companies have wafer fabs in the region.

Although major buildings in Japan are constructed to be earthquake-proof, this is one of the largest earthquakes to hit the country for many years. According to reports, one of five or six after-shocks measured 7.1 and a resulting tsunami has been reported at 10m in height where it struck the city of Sendai. This was according to the BBC referencing the Kyodo news agency.

The quake's epicenter was 20 miles under the ocean off the coast of Honshu, Japan, and has affected the coastal prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima, and as far south as Tokyo. A tsunami warning has been applied across the Pacific Ocean and the wave was set to affect the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hawaii, the Pacific coast of Russia, and North and South America.

The tsunami was expected to take just over 6hrs to reach Hawaii, 6hrs to reach Alaska, 10-11hrs to reach California and up to 24hrs to each the southernmost tip of South America. Evacuation of at-risk buildings on Hawaii had begun before the tsunami hit the island.

In Japan as many as 4 million people are thought to be without electricity and fires are burning unchecked along the Japanese coast, according to reports.

Japan after tsunami

Japan after it was hit by a tsunami on March 11.

Many electronics companies
Many electronics companies are located in northeast Japan in the areas worst hit by Japan's earthquake and tsunami.

According to Reuters, a Toyota Motor Corp. joint venture with Panasonic Corp., Prime Earth EV Energy, in Miyagi prefecture, which makes batteries for hybrid cars, has suspended production. Sony Corp. has two factories in Fukushima, four in Miyagi. All are closed and employees evacuated, and the extent of damage not yet known. One Miyagi factory makes semiconductors while the other three make optical film and various other parts. The two Fukushima factories make batteries, Reuters said.

Freescale Semiconductor Inc. has had a long involvement in Sendai with a 6-inch wafer fab there that was originally constructed in 1987. The company has been trying to sell or close the facility and had said it would discontinue manufacturing in Sendai by the fourth quarter of 2011.

Both Fujitsu and Toshiba have wafer fabs in Iwate prefecture. Iwate Toshiba Electronics Co. Ltd survived a recently announced restructuring of Toshiba's semiconductor business. Fujitsu's Iwate plant manufactures flash MCUs and system chips for game machines, digital appliances and automotive products.

Fujitsu also has manufacturing in Fukushima. Its Aizuwakamatsu wafer fab is the birth-place of semiconductor mass production at Fujitsu.

On Semiconductor's Aizu fab in Fukushima prefecture manufactures a wide range of chips including logic and analog circuits on CMOS, MOSFETs, IGBTs and high-voltage analog circuits.

A spokesperson at Renesas Electronics in Munich said that they had heard from their headquarters in Tokyo that there were no injuries there but had no news from their manufacturing plants.

The U.S., which maintains a large military presence in Okinawa, is so far apparently unaffected by the tsunami. In a statement, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said: "I've been kept informed all day long about the tsunami in Japan, the earthquake and tsunami. As best as we can tell, all of our people are okay, our ships and military facilities are all in pretty good shape. We obviously have huge sympathy for the people of Japan and we are prepared to help them in any way we possibly can. It's obviously a very sophisticated country, but this is a huge disaster and we will do all, anything we are asked to do to help out."

- Peter Clarke and Colin Holland
??EE Times

Article Comments - Electronics companies affected by Ja...
*? You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:


Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.

Back to Top