Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Crossing Our Fingers For Our Friends

As anyone involved in the imaging industry knows, the biggest powerhouse in the photographic market is Japan. Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Fuji, Tamron, Sigma: all, despite their global presence, are at their hearts Japanese companies. The earthquake and tsunami of March 11th, and its terrible aftermath, have left us holding our breath, waiting to hear from our manufacturers, suppliers, and friends.

Tamron e-mailed us to let us know that they sustained some damage to their manufacturing facilities but have so far had no reported injuries to their employees. They are shutting down for several days to deal with the rolling blackouts and assess their damage, but expect that they will be able to resume operations in the near future. A bulletin from their CEO and president, Morio Ono, concludes:

We would very much appreciate your understanding of the situation we are up against, and will definitely keep you abreast regarding the operations for rest of the week.

Last but not least, we sincerely appreciate your kind support and encouragement received right after the news hit the world. We will overcome this difficult time working together.

Sigma also contacted us, saying that while their Aizu manufacturing facility was damaged, it will be repairable; they likewise have not suffered any loss or injury of personnel. They expect to resume operations shortly but are not sure of the long-term implications of the disaster. (More here, if you can read Japanese or rely on Google Translate.)

Nikon has had an office in Tokyo since 1917. Delaware Camera has been a Nikon dealer since 1951. Nikon, known for their cameras but also involved in other precision optical applications, has manufacturing facilities in several countries, but in Japan they have five plants in four prefectures, and over 26,000 employees. There's a bulletin posted on their website explaining that there is damage to numerous of their facilities, and reports of injury to personnel, but the full impact is not yet known. Operations are suspended at their manufacturing plants and at their corporate office until the damage can be assessed. They have also posted a bulletin that they are making a cash donation of 100,000 yen to the Japanese Red Cross Society to provide immediate relief to those in the affected areas.

We heard from our NikonUSA representative, who is concerned but still waiting for more information. Undoubtedly there will be interruptions in business, but for how long, and to what extent, we just don't know yet.

This is a natural disaster of unprecedented scope, and the full impact is not yet known. All we can do is extend our sincerest condolences and sympathy, and hope for a good outcome.

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