Electronics giant Sony said it may shift some production outside Japan as plant shutdowns spread amid parts shortages and power outages in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami.
Sony said shortages of parts and materials would force it to reduce or suspend production through the end of March at five additional plants -- mostly in central and southern Japan -- that make cameras, televisions, microphones and other products. A sixth plant in Chiba, north of Tokyo, was set to resume production on Tuesday, but it could be interrupted by the rolling blackouts that are affecting some areas supplied by Tokyo Electric Power.
Production at six northern Japanese Sony plants has been suspended since the disaster. The consumer electronics giant said it was inspecting and repairing buildings and machinery with a view to re-starting production at these sites.
"If the shortage of parts and materials supplied to these plants continues, we will consider necessary measures, including a temporary shift of production overseas," Sony said.
Production was continuing normally at other factories, but the company said it was keeping a close eye on its supply chain.
Earlier, Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker, joined the list of technology companies saying they expect Japan's earthquake and tsunami to affect product supply.
The Finnish company said it is seeking alternatives for the 12 percent of its components that are sourced from Japan. "Although a complete picture is not available, Nokia expects some disruption to the ability of its Devices & Services unit to supply a number of products due to the currently anticipated industry-wide shortage of relevant components and raw materials sourced from Japan," Nokia said in a statement.
The company said it did not expect any material impact on its first quarter results.
Other electronics and techology companies, including Apple, Panasonic, Hitachi and NEC, also have run into supply chain problems since the earthquake, tsunami and resulting power shortages and transportation difficulties.
Japan exported $91.3 billion worth of electronic products last year, including 20 percent of the world's computer chips.
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