A series of powerful earthquakes that shook southwest Japan this week has also disrupted the electronics supply chain. Sony, Mitsubishi Electric and chip-maker Renesas are among the companies with factories in the area.
On Thursday evening local time, Kumamoto prefecture was hit by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake, the first of many to rock the area. Early Saturday morning, a more powerful magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck, triggering a tsunami advisory and several strong aftershocks.
Sony suspended work at its Kumamoto factory that produces digital image sensors. These are key components in cameras and smartphones, including Apple’s iPhone. A prolonged suspension of production could have a knock-on effect on the availability of products in stores. However, it is still too early to tell if there will be any such effect.
A 2011 earthquake in eastern Japan caused major disruption to the electronics industry after factories suspended operations for weeks, but the scale of this week’s earthquakes, while serious, was smaller.