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Initial report from Nikon after the earthquake: no injured employees, factories not significantly affected

Nikon plant in Sendai is aprox 5 miles from the coast

AP was told by Nikon's UK spokeswoman that there are no injured employees and factories are not significantly affected after the major 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan:

"However, we have been informed that the Nikon Corporation building and factories located in the north of Japan are, fortunately, not significantly affected. Importantly, no injured employees have been reported."

See also Google Maps for exact factory location.

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  • Camphotofan1

    My deepest condolence to all Japanese people affected and those who lost loved ones.

    • gt

      I understand that this is a camera forum – but I find all the antagonism to people trying to share some sympathy…just bizarre. Just because we aren’t talking about gear and rumors for 1 or 2 posts does NOT mean you have to become aggressively hostile…

      The “WHERES MY D800!!” attitude has become so ingrained in some of the people who post here – that even the news of mass death and destruction leaves them unfazed. In fact, they’re downright annoyed that we even dare discuss something so tangentially related to new nikon products.

      this is confirming my belief that gear-heads become increasingly un-human-like — too obsessed with megapixels and isos to give a rat’s ass about society anymore. Ironically, an interest in society and the ability to connect/empathize with others are the REAL keys to great photography.

      • Wayne

        Well said my friend.
        Might I add it’s a real shame how materialistic society has become and the evolvement towards an arrogant “me, me, me” attitude. People care only about self satisfaction and instant gratification. “Damn, I hope that eartquake doesn’t delay my D800″….is the attitude these people have adopted.

      • Don

        +1

      • gt

        note: this was in response to a comment that has since been deleted (rightfully so)

        • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

          usually when I delete a comment, all related comments are also deleted

      • aetas

        I agree it is sad. Somethings…you know major disasters are more important and of a bigger need then when you get your next camera. My thoughts go to those who have lost their love ones or business.

        • aetas

          +1 gt

      • http://photo.plantae.sk miso

        +1

      • Mike Devonport

        Well Done!! I agree with you 100%.

        • Mike Devonport

          This message was for GT.

    • Jeff

      What a Nimrod… what kind of a tradegy does it take to ignite a little humanity in you?

    • mshi

      +8200

  • http://www.jawns.co.uk James

    Very surprising!

    • http://www.jawns.co.uk James

      But good! Of course.

  • D700guy

    This event is going to have a global economic impact, not just Japan’s or Nikon’s. Even the markets have reacted negatively

  • JorPet

    It is good to know that their workers are safe. This is really sad day for all those affected.

    • Mumbar

      Well everyone is fine, building is up, time to get back to work so they can produce new stuff so we can buy and help them help themselves :-)

      • gt

        I went to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to help rebuild the city for about a year. Don’t expect life to go back to “business as usual” for a long time. Their infrastructure will likely be destroyed by the flooding. There’ll be massive wreckage/rubble and…if toxins leaked into the water, it causes even more problems.

        It’s surprisingly good news that the nikon-area of sendai was relatively unaffected. Nikon is only 6 or so miles away from the Sendai airport — which was completely submerged and destroyed.

        In fact, I’m a bit skeptical of the UK rep’s description. I don’t think she’d lie about the workers being safe – but I think we should wait to hear something more definitive about the status of the factory

        • D700guy

          The airport’s condition alone would have an impact on Nikon’s ability to ship products

          • bimmerlovere39

            I seriously doubt Nikon does much in the way of air shipments. The ports are where you should be worried about.

            • iamlucky13

              True, but ultimately it doesn’t matter. A major part of the local transportation infrastructure was heavily damaged, and that will arguably have some effect. Just getting supplier personnel in and out to coordinate production, maintain equipment, etc, is important.

              And if the airport was underwater, it’s quite obvious the nearby ports would have been, too. Even if the piers are structurally sound, you aren’t going to unload a container ship without power to those big cranes, and without container handlers to load them on trains or trucks to move them around the country.

              Also, as gt pointed out, just knowing that the building is standing and appears to be in structurally good condition tells us nothing about whether it can simply continue production as is. There’s a lot of equipment inside that can get damaged, and I’d guess they subcontract out some of their production of sub-components, and we don’t even know who those hypothetical subcontractors might be, much less whether they were directly affected.

              Now how much this will actually affect Nikon is hard to tell. I have no doubt that it will affect them somewhat, but I don’t know whether we’ll really notice considering how screwed up Nikon’s supply chain already appears to be.

              At my own work, the local reps for some of our Japanese suppliers have already warned us we will probably experience delays on some of our existing orders and any near orders in the short term, but they have no idea yet how long.

          • Just A Thought

            Per news reports, the nuke power plants are overheating even when powered off and people near the plants are being evacuated. Radiation way beyond normal with pressure inside the sealed buildings rising, again according to news reports. Wonder where are those factories and plants going to get their power?????

            If reactor damaged beyond repair, then it will be sealed and a new reactor will have to be built (3MIle Island and Chernobyl). Where is the power going to come from to run any factories??? It takes years to build a new reactor.

            On top of all that, there may be stock market crash next Monday as the shorts attack Japan Inc starting in Hong Kong. If that happens then New York and especially Nasdaq could get hammered?? Wonder if they will shut the exchanges down??

            The above comments are my opinions and are not meant as any kind of investment advise. Speak to your own investments advisors and do your own due diligence.

            • iamlucky13

              There are multiple reactors on that particular island of Japan, and Japan only gets around 1/3 of their electricity from nuclear plants.

              Quite simply, they will deal with it through higher prices and reduced consumption.

              However, nothing I’ve read so far indicates any permanent damage to the plant, although all of the reactors currently shut down will likely be for at least a couple days for inspections as a matter of being conservative, and the one that had its backup generators swamped by the tsunami probably has some damage to support equipment that will need to be repaired.

              I fully expect the stock market to take a hit as companies start to tally their damages and investors wonder how this affects their earnings, but not an outright crash.

            • Just A Thought

              Reply to iamlucky13
              “However, nothing I’ve read so far indicates any permanent damage to the plant,”

              Possible Core melt at one reactor ?

              “But moments later Kyodo News reported that radioactive caesium had been detected near the Fukushima plant, citing information from the nuclear safety agency.”

              http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/japans-earthquake-hit-nuclear-plant-may-be-in-meltdown-say-experts/story-e6frfku0-1226020327791

              IWAKI, Japan (AP) — An explosion shattered a building housing a nuclear reactor Saturday, amid fears of a meltdown,

              http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_JAPAN_EARTHQUAKE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-03-12-03-29-13

        • Eeyli

          Yes, but this is Japan, not America. Having lived there for three years I can assure you that it will not take them that long to recover from this disaster.

          • ha

            dude you’ve never lived where a tsunami happens. stop blowing smoke. this isn’t like some katrina flooding stuff.

        • Stefan

          no offense to America, but I had a friend who was there a couple of years back and he told me some areas still looked crap.
          I’m sure Japan has more national ressources to rebuild infrastructure. But of course it will take some time, that’s for sure.
          Plus I mean, they experience earthquakes so much and tsunamis too.. living next to the deepest depths of the ocean has its consequences, and they know that. So I’m sure they have like a big national fond for natural disasters.

        • Richard

          Very true. Don’t expect “business as usual” for quite a long time. Yes, business will get up and running and the Japanese people are resilient and resourceful, but this is an event of enormous proportions.

  • foo

    Great news that there are no injured employees.

    However the Sendai plant will likely be offline for a long time. Much of the infrastructure around the city have been destroyed. Both Sendai airport and the Sendai seaport are under water. And no doubt numerous 3rd party suppliers and contractors who work with Nikon are severely affected.

    Condolences to everyone affected. :-(

    • Patch

      New Orleans International Airport goes underwater every decade or so. They have planes flying to and from there as soon as the runway is clear. Pavement is not water soluble. The coastal infrastructure is damaged, absolutely, and that will divert some of their society’s resources, but there’s no reason to believe that the plant will be “offline for a long time.” Downtime is bad for business, so you better believe it’ll be minimized, especially in Japan.

      • gt

        I wouldn’t expect such a hasty recovery –

        just having available pavement may be fine for rescue workers – but a major corporation can’t use an airport that’s nothing more than dry pavement. They need to rebuild an airport with sophisticated methods for monitoring air-traffic and communicating with with the various air-crafts. I live near san francisco, and it took them years just to unveil a new terminal.

        Furthermore, rebuilding Sendai has many obstacles. First, they need to get rid of the standing water. Even then, the roads are littered with debris from buildings and overturned cars. Sendai will be out of commission for quite sometime. I think people are underestimating the sheer magnitude of what’s happened down there. Imagine half your city submerged in water and buildings reduced to rubble.

        • gt

          don’t forget about the availability of power – who knows if that’s even still functioning in sendai

        • Patch

          >Imagine half your city submerged in water and buildings reduced to rubble.

          I’m from New Orleans….

          • JF

            To be fair, Japan isn’t stupid enough to build major cities on the coast BELOW sea level. At the VERY LEAST they aren’t stupid enough to REbuild them there.

      • iamlucky13

        You’d be surprised how much the ground can move when there’s 25 feet of water (exerting a pressure of roughly 1500 pounds per square foot) on the ground in one place, and not a comparable pressure a few dozen yards away.

        It’s not like having standing water, or even flowing water that’s equally depth everywhere that presses evenly on all areas.

        The pressure of the water can squeeze up the ground in front of the tsunami, lifting and cracking pavement and causing damage before the wave even hits.

        And then the wave does hit, moving faster than floodwaters and using its force to topple over or erode away seemingly solid structures. The Grand Coulee in Washington is a natural feature carved huge flash floods. More contemporaneously, a levy in my area in Washington failed a couple years ago in a flood allowing the relatively small Chehalis River to flow over Interstate 5, washing out large sections of pavement. The freeway was closed for nearly a week, during which time the only driving route from Seattle to Portland was to cross the Cascade Mountains and use smaller highways in Eastern Washington to head south.

        This tsunami destroyed far more than a few dozen yards of a single major freeway.

        I’m sure the Japanese will jump all over rebuilding, and effectively sort out the most important things to work on, but there is only so much labor to replace decades worth of infrastructure that has been damaged, destroyed, or covered with tons of debris.

        I’m sure the in the less affected parts of the country things will be running nearly normally within a few weeks, and in months areas around the inundated zone will be effectively back on their feet, and commerce will be moving smoothly to and from other ports, but I also have no doubt there will be some things that won’t be completely rebuilt for a couple years.

      • foo

        Sorry Patch but I don’t think you understand the scale of devastation that has happened in Japan.

        We’re not talking about runways getting flooded due to some torrential rain or even a typhoon / hurricane. We’re talking about a tsunami with extreme destructive force.

        See the picture of Sendai airport below. No, planes are NOT going to start “flying to and from” there as soon as the runway is clear.

        http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/03/11/article-1365229-0D91D6AE000005DC-699_634x612.jpg

        • Richard

          I would expect helos to bring in personnel to survey the runway, set up an air traffic contol center and then military traffic bringing in assorted equipment. You have probably seen video of JDF helos conducting rescues in mu ch the same way that the U.S. Coast Guard did after Katrina. News reports are not very detailed about the aid being provided by U.S. DoD contingents, although one report indicated that equipment was being moved to the first of the reactors having problems.

          • foo

            Survey of the extensive damage at Sendai airport:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X8PxZocHHM

            As a comparison, even during Hurricane Katrina the New Orleans International Airport (MSY) suffered only minor damage and had NO standing water at all in ANY of its aircraft movement areas.

            Yet MSY was still closed to commercial airline traffic for weeks, and did not recover to pre-Katrina activity levels until the following year.

  • Vlad

    Undoubtedly, this disaster will have an economic and humanitarian impact globally for months or years to come. My hopes and wishes go out to everyone affected by this tragedy.

    Mother Earth is not one to be f*cked with. :(

  • Dweeb

    It’s more than a case of just picking up the books that fell on the floor. There’s hundreds of reasons that it won’t be business as normal for a long time to come. Do they even have power? Your can count on Nikon to be as evasive as ever on what’s really happening there. To the public and their stockholders.

  • broxibear

    Japan is the world’s most prepared countries for earthquakes and tsunamis. The loss of life is tragic, but due to the billions spent developing advanced technology against earthquakes and tsunamis the major cities seem to have faired ok.
    Fortunately I’ve never experienced such an event, it looks horrific…I wish those affected well.
    As far as the camera industry goes Canon and Panasonic have isued statements too…
    http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/Canon_issues_Japan_quake_statement_after_production_halted_news_306248.html
    http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/Panasonic_Lumix_plant_shaken_by_quake_Minor_injuries_news_306245.html

    • broxibear

      P.S. here are some of the images coming out… http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2011/03/earthquake-in-japan/100022/

    • http://joelc.com.au Joel C

      Japanese expert said (on Japanese TV) buildings were built to withstand earthquakes, but to do so they are weak against tsunamis. So you’re statement is factually flawed when it comes to tsunamis.

      Plus, non of my Japanese family can remember any tsunami in their lifetime, and definitely not one of near to this scale.

      • broxibear

        I don’t know about that particular expert Joel C, but everything I’ve read about it says different… “The country that gave the world the word tsunami, especially in the 1980s and 1990s, built concrete seawalls in many communities, some as high as 40 feet, which amounted to its first line of defense against the water. In some coastal towns, in the event of an earthquake, networks of sensors are set up to set off alarms in individual residences and automatically shut down floodgates to prevent waves from surging upriver. ”
        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/12/world/asia/12codes.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss
        If it wasn’t for this preparedness the number of dead would be far greater.

        • http://www.joelc.com.au j0elc

          Good point, lots of concrete walls have been put up, but not even those stopped the tsunami in sendai, and the buildings didnt stand a chance..

          Now they don’t have power (just been switched off).

          Poor people.

  • texasjoe

    Great news.

  • D40-owner

    I currently have 5 co-workers from Portugal stuck in Yokohama.
    They are ok, and there is even power and mobile communications (and web access!). I spoke to one of them, and he told me when the tremor hit hard, people rushed like mad to the outside of buildings, and into the streets and parks.
    Once people got to the park where my colleagues were standing, all around everyone was taking pictures and filming, either with cellphones or SLRs.
    He said it was like being among paparazzi, due to the shear amount of Nikons and Canons he saw being used, DURING the quake, and even more once it stopped.

    • Dweeb

      Someone was filming one of the nuke plants that’s being run on CNN. I guess he thought he might get a shot of a mushroom cloud or something if it went up (doesn’t work that way). But if he did get a structural collapse I guess it would be worth quite a bit of money to the press.

      • Fukushima

        Someone filmed an explosion and posted on youtube
        Fyi: Fukushima nuclear plant does NOT have a combustible graphite core like Chernobyl. A total meltdown should flow into underground containment.

  • Trevor

    I’m really glad everyone there is ok! Hopefully the same can be said for their friends and family. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for all.

  • sirin

    this is very though even for well-prepared Japan. even if the plant if fine, the area around it is probably one step above post-nuclear war desert. it’s going to take years to get everything back to normal.

  • Mike Devonport

    My advice to all the people who want the new cameras. This is not the time to wish or want. At this present time there is about 1000 people who lost their lives and the death toll is rising. I also suspect there is about 1/4 million people who are injured and maybe million people who lost their homes. Plus there is a nuclear power plant that might explode. This is not the time to show disrespect. This is time to show respect and to help. Are you to the challenge.

    • Fukushima

      Are you saying it would be a good idea to gather “everyone” and go to Japan to “help”?

    • chuck

      there are now reports that there are almost 10,000 people unnacounted for in the north of Japan. such a tragedy. I can only pray for the best to come for them.

  • mshi

    Will this delay D4?

    • lolly

      Condolences to the people affected by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday.

      The D4 will arrive as the sun comes up in the morning … probably a delay is inevitable. The question in my mind is whether Nikon will continue to produce the D3s … I suspect Nikon may decide to start producing D4 when the Sendai plant becomes operational again.

  • http://blogg.hogbergphotography.com Danonino

    The “attitude” is not the peoples fault, its the media that has made it like this. Journalism is almost dead.. Our big newspapers seldom wrights anything interesting.. often celebrity news in the daily news.. So dont blame the people.

  • http://www.bythom.com Thom Hogan

    This isn’t over. Around 2:30 pm EST (4:30 am Tokyo) a 6.6 magnitude aftershock occurred ON the island of Honshu near Nagano. And a few minutes later, a 5.8 magnitude quake near a different Nikon plant on the island.

    My sympathy and support go out to our Japanese friends.

    • Richard

      This could go on for longer than we realize and they will not necessarily be smaller than the large one. There is some discussion that it may actually have been an aftershock of the one which occurred a week ago.

    • Eric Calabros

      they got used to deal with under 7

      • heartyfisher

        New Zealand is also very earthquake proof the 7.3 that hit in christchurch in september had minimal damage an no loss of life. but the AFTERSHOCK a few month later at 6.3 sure did some damage. so yes this is not over yet!

  • NikonCanon

    Donate money to Red Cross to help

  • kate

    Why are people coming to the Nikon website to talk “non-camera” stuff, anyway? This is a camera forum. And while my thoughts and prayers are certianly with those in Japan who are srtuggling and who have lost loved ones and whose homes have been destroyed, if you are visiting this website, you are here wondering about CAMERA stuff. This is no way means you are insensitive to what is happening. For some of us, this is our livelihood and we need to know if we should be concerned about the affect over in the states and the availability of new equipment.

    • Parci

      Yeah, this is a camera forum, but is this really so damn important right now..?! :(

      If you are a pro, just use your existing equipment, simple as that… I guess in the days of the D1 you weren’t stopped by the then not-yet-existing D3, were you? So how is any potential delay in the D4, D5 or whatever stopping you now from “making your living out of this”?

      I, for one, am devasteted by the pictures and videos of this earthquake and couldn’t care less about pros whining for their shiny new toys. Buy film.

      • lolly

        I agree … I still use my F100 … really !!

  • Filen
  • Pete

    Word is the plant was saved by Vibration Reduction technology.

    Sorry.

    Seriously, huge disaster. The nuclear reactor issues are especially scary to me.

  • Ren Kockwell

    I guess their VR worked.

  • Coolpixer

    Whoah. When I just now saw a map graphic showing Sendai so near the epicenter, I realized Nikon and the entire photo industry would certainly be affected by this event.

    Not as important as the more tragic loss of life, of course, but damage to cultural structures and artifacts are also of real concern, as is the potential compromising of iconic Japanese companies like Nikon. I trust it will get through this and endure, as will Japan herself.

    Patience.

  • Muh-Kuh

    I hope that the Fukushima nuclear power plant does not explode like the nuclear power plant in Tschernobyl anno 1986… The Fukushima is just 60 miles as the crow flies away from the Nikon factory …

  • Tylor

    First off…. condolences to everyone directly affected by this event. Some people’s lives will never be the same, even if most peoples lives are only marginally affected.
    And for that minority, its up to the government of Japan more then anyone else…. i hope everyone with squinty eyes is a democrat (or it’s nearest local neighbor) or a patriot, for your sake.

    In any case… people who are speculating on a regions ability or inability to recover from disaster haven’t met anyone Japanese. My message to you short-changers is: Leave your personal opinions to your business blog… and let the people who are passionate about a system, a product, and a legacy, far greater then anything your loins could muster, offer condolences in the only way they know… and in one of the many ways no one Japanese would understand. (there are, like, 100 different languages, after all…)

    That’s right… i just called you all out… Stop thinking you know sweet fuck all about anything going on half way around the world because you saw this or that on CNN or FOX… and stop thinking you feeling bad is going to help any farmer who’s fields will never produce edible crops again because the radioactive gas and petroleum will give everything a funny taste for years to come… and by the time they heal, the fields will be full of new houses waiting to be torched or swamped by the next tsunami.

    In the end the word revolves around no one… and i live in a flood zone.

  • paopaolong123

    have contacted some of them, seems all safe
    but need some time to recover
    may get more information tomorrow

  • Zim

    Prayers go out those people. Just some amazing video and pictures coming out of there.

  • http://ronscubadiver.wordpress.com ronscubadiver

    Well, I suppose this is nice to know although worrying about where my next lens is coming from seems trivial compared to knowing two nukes are about to melt down.

  • broxibear

    I hope admin doesn’t mind me posting this, but if you you want to donate to those affected in Japan the Redcross have started a “Japan Tsunami Appeal”, details can be found on their websites…
    http://www.redcross.org.uk/
    http://www.redcross.org/

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      No problem at all, I was going to write a separate post on that same topic but wanted to hear an official statement from Nikon first.

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      btw, thanks for that new “I am” campaign link – it will start a week after the rumored press event on April 4th… “I am” waiting…

  • Chuck

    So sad….

    Looks like D800 / D4 are going to slip big time as everyone but the gearheads got more important things to take care of.

  • Bruce

    Folks motivated to make a donation to an organization already networked in and working on the ground right now on disaster relief may care to check out CRASH:

    http://www.crashjapan.com/

    There is a link further down the page for instructions on how to mail a donation to them, just be sure to mark checks “CRASH”.

    CRASH has a high level of preparedness for this kind of disaster event and as a small organization can move much faster than many of the larger relief groups.

  • broxibear

    Just referring to the photographic angle of this for a moment…
    Here’s a map showing where the Nikon plant in Sendai is compared to the Airport which was flooded (the red A is the plant)… http://static.photo.net/attachments/bboard/00Y/00YN7p-338717584.png
    This is the airport after http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01846/airport-620_1846677i.jpg
    Even if the plant itself wasn’t damaged (by all accounts it hasn’t) there’s going to be a massive effect on production and distribution. A million people lived in Sendai and it’s been devastated, clear up alone is going to take several months.
    As far as I know all the D3 series, D700 bodies and pro lenses are manufactured in Sendai, it’s safe to assume any D4/D800 etc would be made there too.
    I suspect the timeline for releasing these cameras has changed markedly, and I doubt you’ll see them this year.
    Some of the fast primes will be really difficult to get, many were on back order and they were all made in Sendai ?
    If you were waiting for new bodies or lenses your wait just got way longer.

  • http://www.andygural.com Sendai Public Works

    I’d imagine we’ll see delays of irregular length for many months. Nevermind the airport, the Port of Sendai was apparently hit by a 10-metre wave. This has doubtless smashed infrastructure.

    The roads to and from the every building cannot be assumed to be in any reasonable shape and the sewage, water and power lines will need to be repaired to support any type of population density. Everything, all of that, will have repeated knock-on effects upon manufacturing.

    http://www.jrc.or.jp/english/

  • http://www.marlonphoto.com Marlon G

    I was once told by an elderly WWII veteran that there are many cameras available which can take quality photographs but not many cameras allow you to take a photograph the way you envisioned it. Nikon cameras allow you to do just that.

    Can we use that same vision to picture ourselves in the midst of the disaster struggling to survive or struggling to help others and have compassion towards those who lost their loved ones in Japan. We are so comfortable in other parts of the globe away from disaster that we cannot imagine what it would be like if it happened to us.

    Have compassion and donate to the Red Cross. Be patient. New Nikon cameras will be slightly delayed but soon back on track.

    No one here should be discussing cameras at this time. Is human suffering and life not more important than a new gadget or technology. I’m saying a prayer for the people of Japan and you should all do the same.

    Donate here: http://www.redcross.org/

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