Some fabs reopen in Japan

Some of Japan’s tech industry has reopened manufacturing plants, but, as expected, there are still problems within the market.

Today Sony said that it is getting the ball rolling to restart production at some of its Japanese plants.

Sony has said that it plans to open a up its plant that makes rechargeable batteries in Tochigi prefecture on Tuesday. The company has however reopened two other plants in the past week, but it is still struggling as four plants in the Miyagi prefecture that make products ranging from Blu-ray discs to semiconductor lasers remain closed.

A further two plants in Fukushima, which also make rechargeable batteries are still closed, while another in Tagajo City, Miyagi isn’t receiving any power and is partly covered by rubble and mud.

The tentative steps come as manufacturers recover from the vast amount of power outages and disruptions in supply chains. One of Toshiba‘s manufacturing plants is not expected to resume for one month.

It has also been reported that there’s problems in the banking technology sector with a breakdown in the Mizuho Bank’s systems. According to the WSJ the fault has led to millions of Japanese people being unable to receive salary payments. It is thought the crash is the result of a surge in deposits following the earthquake, as well as the number of blackouts Japan is facing.

Many other banks have been forced to temporarily shut down ATMs due to blackouts.

Financial woes aside, it seems that part of the semiconductor industry is picking itself up with companies beginning to think about restarting fabs which had to be shut down.

One company is Renesas Electronics, which had a number of production facilities affected by the the earthquake. As well as already restarting production at two facilities north of Tokyo the company has announced plans to restart another five facilities, which were shut down last week.

However, it seems the compulsory blackouts will stunt efforts as production will temporarily stop when these take place.  

Rohm Semiconductor on the other hand hasn’t been so successful. It said last week that it had not been able to restart its Miyagi wafer fab as it was still without water and electric power.

The mighty Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TSMC) has said it is confident that mobile chip demands will remain strong this year.  

To keep up with predictions it’s building a plant in Shanghai while ramping up capacity using more advanced chip production technology.