As you certainly already know, a massive 8.9 earthquake has hit Japan North-East early yesterday morning (Japan earthquake photos at Boston.com The Big Picture). Consequences already appear quite dire and more than 1000 people are reported dead around the country (and this count will probably still climb steadily in the coming day while people currently reported missing are found again).
However, a few elements can also be collected related the photo industry.
- Nikon Sendai plant (manufacturing D700, D3, D3s cameras; supposedly the future home of the D800 and D4) is very near the epicenter. While Nikon reported that there were no employee injured and that the plant suffered no major trouble, the city of Sendai has been badly hit by the following tsunami and major disruptions have been reported. It means that even if the plant itself is mostly undamaged, we can expect a number of issues related to possible lack of energy, water, transportation, etc.
- Canon stated that 12 people of the Utsunomiya plant are reported with minor injuries. Production has stopped and damaged is behind evaluated while there is no obvious major impact to the plant building and major equipment.
- Panasonic reports a few (probably two) minor injuries at its Lumix plant of Fukushima (in the same Fukushima Prefecture as the Daiishi nuclear power plant which has currently some issues with maintaining its full integrity after stopping production) and at its Sendai plant. Building damage has been observed (ceiling, walls) but no collapse and no fire.
- Sony: not much reported except the evacuation of 6 unnamed Sony plants in the North-Eastern Japan. This are probably manufacturing sites for BluRay discs, batteries, magnetic tapes and magnetic heads. There would be no victim but, after 24 hours, these plants did not restart any production.
- According to Olympus UK, there was no major impact to the group’s plants and production should not be disrupted.
- Pentax: no report.
As we all know, the companies are reporting this kind of information (and we are trying to relay them) with two issues in mind: The safety of people involved and the possible industrial consequences.
In the mean time, you can support the earthquake relief funds by contacting directly the serious actors like Red Cross. Do not fall for the hoaxes and bad people trying to get at your money in these dire times.