November 9, 2004 – Sanyo Electric Co. said it has begun alternate production at its Gunma and Gifu semiconductor plants because it remains unclear when it can resume operations at its quake-hit factory in Ojiya, Niigata prefecture, northern Japan, said the Nihon Keizai Shimbun America Inc.
The Japanese consumer electronics maker shut down its largest chipmaking factory in Ojiya on October 23, when a 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit the Niigata area.
At its domestic plants in Gunma and Gifu, Sanyo started manufacturing some of the chips its Ojiya factory makes. Such chips include system large-scale ICs used for audiovisual equipment, it said.
Sanyo didn’t provide further details such as how much of its production in Ojiya will be covered by the two other plants. “We haven’t been able to estimate the earnings impact” from the Ojiya plant shutdown, a Sanyo spokesman said.
Sanyo’s recovery efforts have been hampered by continuing aftershocks in the region and safety concerns at the Ojiya factory, which uses gases and chemicals required for chip production.
The company said it finally started full-scale inspections inside the quake-hit factory yesterday. Its round-the-clock plant in Ojiya has a total of 2000 workers and makes system chips for audiovisual products, flash memory chips, and various microcomputer chips.