Sony, Nissan Resume Operations at a Few Factories in Japan

By Ed Silverstein March 22, 2011

Manufacturing is slowly getting back to normal in Japan for several big companies that had stopped operations after a massive earthquake.

Sony expects to partially resume operations at a lithium ion battery plant in Tochigi prefecture on Tuesday, according to a report from Reuters.

However, six Sony plants in Japan remain closed because of damage from the massive earthquake, tsunami and related power failures, Reuters said.

Sony is among many Japanese companies to shut down and/or reduce operations after the disaster, which disrupted supplies, Reuters adds. Sony is uncertain when closed plants will resume operations. The plants make different devices, such as integrated circuit cards and Blu-ray discs, Reuters said.

In a related matter, Nissan restarted limited operations at five plants in Japan on Monday. Nissan is resuming the manufacturing of parts for repairs and parts for overseas manufacturing at its Oppama, Tochigi, Yokohama, Kyushu and Nissan Shatai plants, Reuters said. Production of motor vehicles is expected to resume later this week, likely on Thursday, Reuters said.

Production at Nissan’s Iwaki engine plant may take longer to resume than the other plants, Reuters added.

Reuters estimates that Nissan manufactures some 22 percent of its vehicles in Japan. Goldman Sachs says the impact on Nissan profits – by ceasing production – will cost some 2 billion yen ($24.8 million) each day, Reuters said.

Toshiba’s factory in Iwate prefecture had stopped producing LSI chips for microprocessors and image sensors, Reuters said. The company is trying to resume operations at the factory but it not known when that will happen.

In addition, Toshiba’s assembly line plant that makes small liquid crystal displays for smartphones and other devices will be closed one month so the company can repair machinery damaged in the disaster.

Renesas, a chipmaker, stopped operations at eight of its plants, and is also uncertain when operations will resume, Reuters said.

In related news, TechZone360 reports that Sony and its group companies will donate 300 million Japanese yen (about $3.7 million) to help relief and recovery efforts. A disaster relief fund will collect donations from Sony employees worldwide, and their contributions will be matched by the company through a matching gifts program, according to a company statement.  The company will also donate 30,000 Sony radios. Other donations are likely.

The affected Tohoku region is historically important for Sony, with a high concentration of manufacturing sites there, and many Sony employees and their families were affected, the company said in a press release.

Ed Silverstein is a TechZone360 contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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