Japanese Tech Firms Weigh Quake Impact

Japanese earthquake/tech story updated with statement from HDS CEO Jack Domme.

TOKYO ( TheStreet) -- Japanese tech giants Sony ( SNE) and Panasonic ( PC) are still weighing the impact of the massive earthquake that struck northern Japan on Friday, which subsequently caused a tsunami to rush across the Pacific Ocean.

A spokeswoman for electronics firm Sony told TheStreet that the company was not able to accurately assess the damage to its six factories in the earthquake-hit Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.
Japanese tech giants such as Sony are weighing the impact of Friday's earthquake on their manufacturing facilities.

"All of these six factories have halted their operation after the quake," she said in an email to TheStreet, adding that all employees were safe after having been evacuated from the facilities. "Among the four in Miyagi, three belong to Sony Chemical & Information Device (SCID) and one to Sony Shiraishi Semiconductor. One factory in Miyagi (SCID Tagajo-factory) was hit by the tsunami, and its ground floor is flooded."

The spokeswoman added that there was also transport disruption in the Tokyo area, where Sony is headquartered. "Employees commuting from a distant area are allowed to remain in the office, and stay overnight," she wrote. About 3000 employees were still in the building at around midday ET.

Bloomberg reports that Panasonic was also assessing the damage to three of its facilities in the Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, where several employees suffered minor injuries.

Panasonic has not yet responded to TheStreet's request for updated information.

Camera giant Canon, however, didn't suffer damage to its plants that would halt production, according to Bloomberg.

Hitachi ( HIT) has also not yet responded to a request for comment on this article.

Jack Domme, the CEO of Hitachi's storage subsidiary Hitachi Data Systems, said that his firm began assessing the situation as soon as the earthquake struck at 2:46 pm local time. "I am glad to report that currently we have received reports of only minor injuries but we are still accessing the situation," he said in a statement. "With regard to business operations, we have confirmed there has been no damage to our manufacturing facilities."

Domme added that there should be no disruption to supplying products to HDS customers. "We have inventory available in many other parts of the world," he explained. "Customer support is also unaffected and will continue globally on a 24x7 basis."

Shares of Sony, Panasonic and Hitachi were down 2.28%, 2.24% and 1.95%, respectively, on Friday.

With Japan struggling in the aftermath of the 8.9 magnitude quake, cell phone networks are reportedly jammed, and people are relying on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter for communication.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers.

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