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Japan’s Murata to Restart Production After Earthquake

Kyoto-based Murata, the top global supplier of ceramic capacitors used in smartphones and cars, said it aims to restart two facilities in Fukushima prefecture


Japan earthquake hits chip and auto firms
Renesas' production was also affected by the quake. Photo: Reuters

 

Japan’s Murata Manufacturing said it plans to restart production on Friday at two of four factories whose operations were halted following an earthquake that jolted the country’s northeast late on Wednesday.

Kyoto-based Murata, the top global supplier of ceramic capacitors used in smartphones and cars, said it aims to restart production at two facilities in Fukushima prefecture on Friday.

Two further factories remain out of action, a company spokesperson said, with a fire that broke out at a factory in Tome in Miyagi prefecture that produces chip inductors causing some damage to equipment.

The disruption caused by the magnitude 7.4 quake has shone a spotlight on Japan’s leading role in producing precision components vital for electronics and vehicle production when global supply chains are under Covid-19 pandemic-related strain.

As well as Murata, chipmaker Renesas, electronics giant Sony and other precision parts makers halted some operations on Thursday after the quake.

Even as Japan’s dominance of consumer electronics had faded, manufacturers have carved out a world-leading niche in highly specialised components such as Murata’s ceramic capacitors and Sony’s image sensors.

Thursday’s production halt comes after pandemic-related component shortages have already hobbled production of vehicles and electronics globally.

“An earthquake stopping production is a pure negative given components are currently selling as fast as you can make them,” said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute.

 

  • Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell

 

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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