Sony resumes production in more Japanese plants

Two factories that make media and lithium-ion batteries remain affected

Sony on Wednesday said partial or full operations had resumed at eight of its 10 Japanese facilities affected by the March 11 earthquake.

However, two factories, including the Tagajo plant that manufactures magnetic tapes and Blu-ray discs, have yet to resume operations. The Tagajo plant, which is near Sendai, is undergoing cleaning and damage inspection, Sony said.

Operations at 10 Sony sites and facilities had been suspended as of March 14 due to damage from the earthquake, tsunami and related power outages. The Tagajo facility was hit with walls of water, mud and debris, which has hampered recovery efforts.

The company did not provide information on when the Tagajo factory would resume production. The factory is Sony's main production base for media products and any delays could lead to a possible shortage of goods such as HDCAM video tapes for portable TV cameras.

Another idle plant in Motomiya, in the Fukushima prefecture, which makes lithium-ion batteries, will gradually resume operations by the end of this month, according to the company.

Of all the factories shut down, three sites resumed operations by March 22, and as of Wednesday, five other sites had resumed or partially resumed operations. A factory in the Ibaraki prefecture that makes CDs and DVDs, and factories in the Tochigi and Fukushima prefectures that make lithium-ion batteries, have resumed partial operations.

Sony is assessing the full impact of the earthquake, tsunami and related power outages, and will take measures to ensure a consistent supply of products, the company said in a statement.

"[Sony] also plans to take further measures as necessary, including reallocating available materials and components among Sony Group companies, using alternative components and expanding procurement channels in order to restore full production capacity as early as possible," the company said.

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Agam Shah

IDG News Service
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