TOKYO, April 16 (UPI) — A 7.3-magnitude earthquake that struck southern Japan on Saturday has forced Sony and several Japanese automakers to close manufacturing sites in the region, disrupting supply chains.
A Sony plant in Kumamoto, near the epicenter of the quake, manufactures sensors used in smartphone cameras, particularly in iPhones. The plant is still being inspected for structural damage but analysts said the strength and frequency of aftershocks makes it unlikely the plant will return to being operational in the immediate future.
The closure will disrupt global production of smartphones, though analysts predicted Sony would be able to shift production of the smartphone camera sensors to other facilities, minimizing the problem.
A Sony spokesman tells Bloomberg there “hasn’t been major damage to the building.”
Toyota and Nissan have also suspended work at several plants in Kumamoto after an initial earthquake on Thursday caused damage.
Toyota closed a Lexus assembly plant in Fukuoka and an adjacent engine and transaxle factory after Thursday’s magnitude-6.2 tremor.
Honda also closed a motorcycle assembly factory in the region, as well.
It was not immediately clear what additional impact the stronger Saturday quake had at the facilities, which had not reopened when the second tremor struck.