Canon, Epson, Report Earthquake Damage, Suspend Some Plant Operations

In the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami to hit northern Japan on Friday, both Canon Inc. and Seiko Epson have reported damage to several plants, where they have suspended operation, with Canon reporting significant damage at an ink-jet printer manufacturing plant. Following is a run-down of news from imaging vendors in Japan:

Canon Inc.

Canon has halted operations at eight of its facilities in Japan, and reports that 15 employees were injured. Some of the most significant damage occurred at an ink-jet printer manufacturing plant in Fukushima, as well as at a plant where EF lens are produced. Canon did not indicate when operations will resume, noting “time will likely be needed before operations resume.” The company says it will consider making use of alternate sites that were not damaged by the earthquake in order to continue production.

The earthquake had the most significant impact on the following three Canon Inc. operation sites and five Canon Group companies, and damage “was significant” at Canon Inc.’s Utsunomiya Office and Fukushima Canon Inc. All operations have been suspended at these sites, with resumption of operations yet to be determined:

  • Utsunomiya Office (Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture), where 15 employees sustained injuries;
  • Canon Precision Inc. (Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture);
  • Canon Optron, Inc. (Yuki, Ibaraki Prefecture);
  • Canon Chemicals Inc., Iwama Plant (Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture);
  • Fukushima Canon Inc. (Fukushima, Fukushima Prefecture);
  • Canon Mold Co., Ltd. (Kasama, Ibaraki Prefecture).

The Japanese government is currently requesting that companies conserve electricity because of a shortage in the electric-power supply across the eastern part of Japan, due to damages sustained to power plants by the earthquake. Canon states that it’s calling on its employees to make every effort to conserve electricity in their homes. Meanwhile, operations resumed as usual for Canon plants in the western half of Honshu.

The company has also established an Earthquake Disaster Recovery Task Force, which will draft a recovery plan, and is making a donation of 300 million yen ($3.22 million U.S.) to the Japanese Red Cross Society and other humanitarian aid organizations, and says it will provide supplies as needed.

Seiko Epson

Seiko Epson reports that it suffered damage to several plants and also to its companies in the Tohoku areas. No employee casualties were reported. Epson has suspended operations at the following facilities:

  • Akita Epson Corporation (Yuzawa, Akita Prefecture), where operation has been suspended due to a power cut caused by the earthquake. Damage to the buildings and production facilities were minimal. Epson says it will carefully confirm plant safety and electricity power supply, and will steadily resume operations beginning today.
  • Epson has suspended operations at its Sakata Plant and Tohoku Epson Corporation (Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture), also due to a power cut caused by the earthquake. Although Epson says no damage to the buildings occurred, the company is still confirming the state of the production facility, and does not know when operations will resume. 
  • Epson suspended operations at its Toyocom Corporation Fukushima Plant (Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture) due to the earthquake, and both buildings and production facilities appear to have sustained damage. The company says it’s temporarily terminated operations, as the plant is approximately 16 km from the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station, and therefore within an evacuation area. It does not state when operations will be resumed.

Epson also announced that it had cancelled the Color Imaging Exhibition 2010, which was scheduled to be held in Tokyo from March 19 to 21, as a result of the earthquake. Photos due to be displayed at the exhibition will be posted on the following site in the near future:

Brother Group

Brother Group has not reported employee casualties or damage to plants, and will donate 100 million yen ($1.22 million U.S.) to relief efforts.


Fujifilm Holdings Corporation, and its group companies, Fujifilm Corporation and Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd., have not reported employee casualties or damage to plants, and are donating approximately 300 million yen ($3.22 million U.S.), as well supplies worth 470 million yen to aid relief efforts. Donated supplies will include several diagnostic ultrasound systems, and masks for dust and virus protection.

The company says it will also be aiding electricity-conservation efforts by turning off outdoor advertising and refraining from non-urgent usage of electricity.

Konica Minolta

Konica Minolta has not reported any employee casualties or plant closings, and will donate 50 million yen ($611,000 U.S.) through the Japanese Red Cross Society to aid relief efforts. In order to help conserve electricity, the company has turned off electric signage and says will continue seek to to conserve electricity.

Kyocera Group

The Kyocera Group has not reported any employee casualties or damage to its plants, and will donate 100 million yen ($1.22 million U.S.) to relief efforts. It also says that its employees inside and outside of Japan will set up fundraising collections to aid victims.


Panasonic states that damage to its plants is uncertain at this time. The company reported minor injuries to some employees, including employees at the AVC Networks Company Fukushima Factory, which manufactures digital cameras. Employees also sustained injuries at Panasonic’s AVC Networks Company Sendai Factory, which manufactures optical pickups; Panasonic Electric Works Co., Ltd. Koriyama Factory, which manufactures electronic materials; and Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. Gunma Factory, which manufactures washers/dryers, etc.

Panasonic does not report any major fires or building collapses, but states that it is suspending operations at several facilities.

The company is donating 300 million yen ($3.22 million U.S.) to relief efforts, and radios and flashlights (10,000 each), as well as 500,000 dry batteries, to aid victims.

Ricoh Group

Ricoh has not reported any employee casualties or plant suspensions, and has pledged to donate 300 million yen ($3.22 million U.S.) to victims and general recovery efforts. It also states that it will seek to conserve power by turning off neon signs, billboards, etc., and fully intends to cooperate with the requests of local power companies to conserve energy.


Toshiba has not reported any employee casualties or damage to its plants, and states that it will cooperate with Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) request to cut electricity consumption by operating only those of its businesses related to “essential services required for social and economic activities,” and has closed for today all of its premises in those areas with power outages, other than its headquarters and those business operations related to essential services.

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