Second notice from Nikon on the impact of the earthquake in Japan

Today Nikon published an update on the situation in Japan and the impact of the earthquake. One employee has been confirmed dead and three others are missing. Some of the Nikon factories are already operational, the plant in Sendai is expected to resume by the end of March. The remaining facilities will start working on March 23. Full text of the news release:

The Nikon Group would express our deepest condolences to the victims of the earthquake and extend our profound sympathy and heartfelt concern to those individuals and families suffering from the disaster.

We have set up the Emergency Headquarters for Disaster Control headed by the President on March 11 immediately after the earthquake, and have been gathering safety information of our employees, examining damage to the manufacturing equipment and continuing every effort to resume operation at the earliest possible. The following is an update regarding the impact of the earthquake on the Nikon Group and outlook on the future production.

1. Safety of the employees
To our deepest regret, death of one employee of Sendai Nikon Corporation has been confirmed. Safety of three employees is not yet confirmed in the area of Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture.

2. Damage to the manufacturing equipment and outlook on the future production
One of our own plants and seven of our manufacturing subsidiaries are located in Miyagi Prefecture, Tochigi Prefecture and Ibaraki Prefecture in the disastrous region*. Operation has been suspended at all of them after the earthquake.
At Tochigi Nikon Corporation, operation has started from Friday, March 18.
At Sendai Nikon Corporation and Miyagi Nikon Precision Co., both of which have been severely damaged, operation is expected to resume by the end of this March. Operation at the remaining facilities will start tomorrow on March 23.

Even after operation resumes, we have a concern that the situation may happen where our production cannot fully satisfy our customers’ requirement due to inability of full swing production caused by problems such as the planned blackouts of electricity and procurement of components from our business partners. While we will do our utmost effort to overcome such expected difficulties, we will be most grateful if our customers could understand such circumstances.

We assure to extend our best support for restoration of the facilities hit by the disaster to our customers of Precision Equipment and Instruments business, and repair/servicing to our customers of Imaging business suffering from the disaster.

3.Forecast of effect by the damage to our business performances
We are continuing our endeavor to evaluate how the immediate damage by the disaster and planned blackouts of electricity will result in our group companies and business performances. We will announce our findings immediately when it is judged that there will be important change in our forecast.

* Locations of each plant and manufacturing subsidiaries

Mito Plant, Nikon Corporation : Mito,Ibaraki Pref.
Sendai Nikon Corporation : Natori, Miyagi Pref.
Miyagi Nikon Precision Co., Ltd. : Zao-machi, Katta-gun, Miyagi Pref.
Zao factory, Nikon-Trimble Co., Ltd. : Zao-machi, Katta-gun, Miyagi Pref.
Tochigi Nikon Corporation : Otawara, Tochigi Pref.
Tochigi Nikon Precision Co., Ltd. : Otawara, Tochigi Pref.
Kurobane Nikon Co., Ltd. : Otawara, Tochigi Pref.
Nasu Nikon Co., Ltd. : Nasukarasuyama, Tochigi Pref.


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  • Good luck Nikon!

  • Go, Nikon! With best wishes.

  • Ant

    My deepest condolences go to the families of those dead or missing. The human cost of this tragedy is still being counted, but I really hope that the worst is now in the past.

    I am surprised that Sendai (and others) is scheduled to come back online so quickly, considering the level of destruction in that area, as well as the continuing rolling blackouts. It’s a symbol of the resilience of the Japanese people that they can pick themselves up and get back to work so quickly.

    • Mock Kenwell

      Well, if they don’t go back soon, there may not be anything to go back to. Plus, going back to work helps you achieve some degree of routine and normalcy after weeks of none.

  • Carl Wagner

    Do you know what products are manufactured in these plants?
    And what do you know about down stream providers?
    After all I am hearing of car plants closing in America due to parts [not] coming from Japan.

    • Sendai (closed until end of month) produces FX camera bodies, amongst other things.
      Togichi (open today in limited production) produces high-end lenses.

  • 🙁 – sorry to hear about the employee deaths

    I’m also surprised they can resume production at the Sendai plant as soon as this given the surrounding infrastructure has been totally wiped out – they must have come up with a solution real quick

  • Nikon is very strong company!
    I hope only for a good news now!

  • My deepest condolences goes to the family and friends. Let’s hope the missing ones are safe!

  • One thing that’s not getting reported widely yet is some underlying issues that are going to affect all Japanese manufacturing. Let me tick off a few:

    * A large amount of the stockpiled coal was lost to the tsunami (can’t use it once contaminated with sea water).
    * 4 million barrels per day of oil refinery is offline for an unknown amount of time, and Japan is deep into their reserves already.
    * The LNG plant is closed.
    * Two of the largest semiconductor wafer plants are offline. I get conflicting reports of how much wafer production is lost at the moment, but it could approach half.
    * Renaysys is 40% off-line. They provide a lot of technology to many camera companies, including Nikon, though I’m not sure they make any chips for Nikon.
    * A critical chemical in circuit board production is mostly offline for the foreseeable future (plant hit by tsunami). Reports in the Japanese business press say that most companies have perhaps a two-week supply.

    The list goes on and on and on. A lot of dominoes got knocked over, and the whole manufacturing ecosystem needs them all turned back up. Even solutions like “just import the missing items” don’t work, as the transport infrastructure isn’t there to support getting those items to some places they’re needed, either. That’s probably one of Sendai’s biggest issues right now: getting things in and out.

    Sony today announced cutbacks in digital camera production, though I don’t have details.

    I wish Nikon success in dealing with the myriad of problems facing them. But let’s not kid ourselves that it’s as simple as uprighting all the overturned equipment and restarting manufacturing. This is a massive n-part problem that’s going to slow everyone down from where they want to be. We all need some patience as the details get worked out.

    • Dave

      Thanks for a great post

    • Good info and thank you for the thoughtful analysis.

    • Bruce

      I have access to a private research list with assessment of supply chain issues/impacts and whilst I can’t post specifics here because to do so would violate my CA I can say Mr. Hogan is a) correct on all points raised and b) truncating the list of issues by many thousands of individual items. Togichi may be online today but the lens shop is going to run out of materials very shortly. If you have been planning to buy a high end Nikon body or lens I’d suggest doing so RIGHT NOW.

    • T140AVRider

      I call fake on the your fact about Coal is useless if it has been soaked in sea water.

      In the North East of England there are Coal Seams that are underwater. The action of the Sea washed the coal ashore. People collect said Coal and burn it.
      They have been doing that for several hundred years.
      Just down the coast is this:-

  • Just A Thought

    Magnitude 6.6 aftershock shakes Japan

    • Just A Thought

      The 6.6 Aftershock is only the beginning of larger Aftershocks. Japan has experienced many small ones since the huge earthquake. Its like ocean waves ie after one comes, there are still more on the way with small ones in between.

      Recall that the earthquake that flattened Haiti was only 7.0. That gives one an idea of what today’s 6.6 Aftershock means to Japan.

      • Segura

        Earthquakes are not on a linear scale, so 6.6 is not as bad as Haiti’s 7.0, but the Japan earthquake was 1000 more powerful than the 7.0 that hit Haiti

        6.6 = 261.9 kiloton TNT explosion
        7.0 = 476.0 kiloton TNT explosion (1.8x more powerful than a 6.6)
        9.0 = 476000 kiloton TNT explosion (1000 more powerful than a 7.0)

        • Jan

          a BETTER explanation

          the scale is LOG10 based on wave amplitude. When this is converted into energy it is equivalent to about LOG31. This is why 2 on the scale corresponds to 100x wave amplitude and 1000x energy released.

  • Just A Thought

    Are there Sony Sensor shortages??

    Electronics giant Sony said five more of its plants, mostly in central and southern Japan and producing digital and video cameras, televisions and microphones, were hit by parts shortages and would close or cut output until the end of March.

    “If the shortage of parts and materials supplied to these plants continues, we will consider necessary measures, including a temporary shift of production overseas,” the maker of PlayStation games consoles said in a statement on Tuesday.

    A sixth plant north of Tokyo, was set to resume production on Tuesday, but it could be interrupted by rolling blackouts affecting some areas supplied by Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) (9501.T), which operates the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.

    Including two factories only partially restarted last week, 15 of Sony’s 25 Japanese plants are currently affected. It has a total of 54 plants worldwide.

    • broxibear

      You’ve answered your own question Just A Thought, there’s bound to be shortages of all sorts of components and materials.
      Howard Stringer (Sony Corporation Chairman ) said “The problem is, we just don’t know enough at the moment as to when this crisis will end”
      If you’re thinking of buying and it’s in stock now then buy it now…if it has to be ordered you’ll be waiting a very long time for it.

      • Just A Thought

        “you’ll be waiting a very long time for it.”

        And quite possibly pay dearly if able to buy it.

        Just bought a Sandy Bridge laptop with 8 gig ram. Won’t really need it for another month or two, but figured that by then the retail shortages could increase the price.

        As an aside the laptop runs fast (faster than my desktops) and runs very cool.

        • broxibear

          Not to mention the speculators ?
          The 70-200mm f2.8G ED VR II is a sought after lens and here in the UK is very difficult to find in stock, it’s £1588… you could buy one, leave it unopened and sell on ebay for a large profit when all the retail stock has gone in a few months.
          I’d be a liar if I said I haven’t thought of doing it myself.

          • JakeB

            I just bought a Nikon D7000 and 50 mm 1.4 (I was planning to in a week or two anyway).

            But then I added the 24-70 2.8 zoom to my list. I would have gotten one anyway within the next six months to a year, but I figured, better strike while they’re still available.

            Got a great deal on the zoom 1419 euros — second hand sells for over 1200 in Germany.

            As many posters have said — if you’re planning to buy Nikon in the next year and it’s available, get it now while you can.

  • D700guy

    Man, true testiment to how resilient the japanese are. They undoubtably have learned the art of bouncing back through everything they endured in WW2.

  • Just A Thought

    Japan supply paralysis spreads as firms cut output

    Camera and copier maker Canon Inc (7751.T), which has suspended all its domestic camera production until at least Thursday, said a lack of gasoline was affecting distribution and stopping staff getting to work in areas such as the island of Kyushu, where train services are minimal.

    Nikon (7731.T), which makes cameras and precision equipment, said it expected to resume production at all its north Japan plants by the end of March, but warned power cuts and shortages of parts could make a return to full production difficult.

    Link to above and my prior post about Sony is from:

  • Just A Thought

    Renesas Electronics Corp (6723.T), the world’s No.5 chipmaker, restarted operations on Saturday at a semiconductor plant in Yamagata prefecture, in northwest Japan, a company spokeswoman said on Tuesday — leaving output suspended at six of the firm’s 22 factories in Japan.

    Souce – see link in my prior post

  • In terms of having information, this announcement from Nikon is a great step forward. Just remember, the devil is in the details. There is no telling what sort of parts shortages will be encountered. When production is lost, shortages linger for a long time. Many pro items such as D3s bodies and long telephoto lenses were in chronic short supply before the disaster.

    None the less, resumption of production at all plants by the end of this month is very encouraging news.

  • Mike Devonport

    Every country around the world is effected by the earthquake in japan. My advice to all who are waiting for that the new camera, lens or flash, be patient. Nikon is doing it’s best in getting their plants back up in running. Be happy what you have right now.

  • Sahaja

    A BBC business programme was reporting this morning that one thing which is severely effected is production of rechargeable lithium batteries – and that a shortage of these will likely delay shipments of everything from cell phones and cameras to electric cars.

    Even when things are not made in Japan, apparently the batteries for them often are – so they were saying that this battery shortage is quite likely to delay goods from many different places.

  • My deepest condolences goes to the family and friends.
    Let’s hope the missing ones are safe!
    Good Luck Nikon


  • My deepest condolences

  • another anonymous

    Good luck to all to normalize the situation. I wonder how fast they are recovering their work.

  • cr

    My deepest condolences.
    Health and strength to all people and friends in Japan.

  • maddog

    “..While we will do our utmost effort to overcome such expected difficulties, we will be most grateful if our customers could understand such circumstances.”

    Don’t worry, we do….Sincere condolences to those that were lost.

  • jorgen

    yes, nikons own plants are just the end of the supplychain, there are hundreds of hurdles beforehand, even if nikon plants go online soon. the whole just-in-time-sytem, invented in japan (?), is now working against all those industries.

    nikon has announced shortages aka delays with this statement. sony has moved further by actually saying “productions-cutbacks”, but they can afford saying that, with some factories still running- nikon has just implied it, small difference, but there is a lot of psycology in desaster-pr. those in the know of japanese business culture will be able to read clearer, what lies within these words.

    right now, sendai was supposed to be retooled to produce D4s and D800s, i think, they will only be able to produce one of them. same for the lens-plant. they will restart production asap, but they will have to focus one core-products. as a desasterplan, i´d say:
    -produce the D4, skip the D800- maybe vice versa
    -produce the holy troika 14-24, 24-70, 70-200, skip the special lenses
    that´s it. all pure speculation, yes. but the whole country and supplychain is affected, i just can not imagine, how they will keep their schedule of 3 new bodies plus lenses for 2011…

    • JakeB

      I’d take the corporate press release with a grain of salt.

      Whatever they say, assume it’s considerably worse. They don’t want their stock to plummet so they’re downplaying the magnitude of the blow to their company.

      Nothing specific to Nikon; any company would spin this best they could.

      • I would agree. We might see the D4 announcement with very limited availability just to show they are surviving but the Japanese are not known for candidness. Corporate culture dictates the positive statement.

        Read Thom Hogan’s comments above and you get a much clearer picture. Shoot, I was on a 20 week waiting list for the 85mm f1.4G and that was before the earthquake. I know Nikon is a pretty strong company but this truly is a crisis for them. It may take more than a year to get back to what we knew to be “normal” for distribution.

      • Simon

        Yes the Japanese people are traditioonally conformist. In Japan there is a saying “a nail that sticks out must be hammered down” which really means oppressing dissent or ideas not sanction by official authority.
        Stoicism there is no more than blending in and fear of shouting out loud. Dissent and distrust against the government is considered a moral sin in Japanese culture comparable to a child shouting at his/her parents something that does not happen in Nippon. The press release by Nikon really sums up what the government would allow. Any mention of major disruption are minimised and the positive however limited are maximised for public consumption.

  • Mo

    My deepest condolences to all the families of the victims and all of those affected. I don’t mind waiting a year till Nikon stands back on its feet again.

    Please support Japanese Nikon..not Canon :))

  • Bruce

    Video footage from Natori… not that far from Nikon.

    Yep, don’t expect much out of the Sendai facilities any time soon.

  • M!

    As part of the Nikon community for many years, I would like to express the deepest condolences to those victims and the families. As a Nikon user, I can reassure Nikon that at this tough time, we will all stand by your company and wait patiently for your future products. All those can wait. Please stay strong and continue to support the photographic community with great products from these skilled engineers and technicians.

  • bill stuckey

    Does anyone know which plant the d700 was manufactured in?

    • bolla

      They produce D700 in Sendai

  • broxibear

    Japan Earthquake and Tsunami camera industry update posted today on…
    “Due to the destruction of key plants we will see a slow and unpredictable recovery in this area and we should expect to see shortages of many photo products in the months ahead. A shortage of LCD screens, semi-conductors, imaging sensors, optical lens and flash memory may influence the development of new products.”

  • Just A Thought

    Reactors near Sendai emitting Neutron Beams. Do we have FISSION ?????

  • Steve

    I pray for the Japanese, and their safety.

    On a separate note: is this a NR translation? or does Nikon have someone writing press releases in English? It needs some polish.

    • this is a direct copy from Nikon’s website – see the source link at the bottom

  • As a big NIKON supporter, I would like to extend my DEEPEST sympathies and condolences to the entire NIKON and their families.

  • Nikon Tochigi went back online on March 18, 2011. My friends from that plant have
    Written me as well. They are alright and will rebuild. Nikon has good people…so don’t you worry….the best Glass will always come from Tochigi…

    Nikon Tochigi Ichiban!,

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