In the wake of the horrendous events precipitated by the Tohoku-Pacific Ocean earthquake and tsunami, pro-audio companies with facilities in Japan have sought to issue clarification on the status of their employees and operations.
Audio-Technica, Sony and Yamaha were among the manufacturers to extend their condolences to the victims of one of the worst natural disasters in living memory – and one whose full implications are yet to become clear at the time of writing.
In a statement issued on 16 March, Audio-Technica US confirmed that the manufacturer’s Japanese facilities had undamaged, with all employees accounted for and safe. Operations at Audio-Technica Japan were said to be normal, although conditions at all sites were being monitored continually, ‘with safety being the number one priority’.
Audio-Technica US added that it was assessing the effect the disaster may have on its supply chain, but that no major disruption was anticipated. The manufacturer also confirmed that it was making a donation to the Japanese Red Cross Society to help with the relief effort.
“We are tremendously grateful that our colleagues in Japan are safe, and that our facilities have not been damaged,” said Audio-Technica US president Phil Cajka. “Our deepest sympathies are with the victims of this disaster. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan, and to our colleagues and friends at Audio-Technica Japan and their families.”
For Sony Corporation, the Tohoku region is ‘historically important’, with a ‘high concentration of manufacturing sites, and many employees and their families have also been affected by these devastating events,’ as the company confirmed in its statement of 14 March.
Like Audio-Technica, Sony and its group companies also confirmed a donation to the relief effort, amounting to 300 million Japanese yen. In addition, donations will be collected from Sony Group employees worldwide, with their contributions to be matched by the company through a matching gifts programme, while Sony will also donate 30,000 Sony radios to assist the relief of earthquake victims.
“In times like these, we are reminded of how important and fragile we are and of the positive impact we can have – both as individuals and, collectively, as a company – to assist those in need,” said Howard Stringer, chairman, CEO and president, Sony Corporation. “We will continue to make the utmost effort to help the swift recovery of the affected communities in the region.”
In its statement of 16 March, Yamaha Group said that it was continuing to gather information on the status of its operations after the earthquake. At time of writing, it had not received any reports of injuries to Yamaha Corporation personnel, although one employee of a Yamaha subsidiary could not be contacted. A sales office in Sendai and retail shops located in the disaster area had ‘sustained some slight damage’, but factories in Kakegawa (pianos) and Toyooka (wind and other instruments) were continuing normal operations. The operating hours of the Saitama factory, however, were likely to be affected by planned electricity blackouts.
Nonetheless, the company said that, infrastructurally, it had been ‘forunate and is not as affected by this recent disaster as so many other companies. This means that manufacturing and our headquarters operations are in place and running as required to support the global needs of the company.
‘For many in Japan, it may take a long time to return to a level that can be considered as “normal.” At Yamaha, we will be monitoring the situation carefully and doing all that we can to ensure that this day comes as soon as possible.’