Work to Restore Ishikawa Pref. Factories Plods along; Companies Take Big Hits to Sales

Yomiuri Shimbun photo
Eizo Corp. employees work on a production line at the company’s Nanao plant, which has restored production to pre-quake levels, in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Wednesday.

KANAZAWA — Two months after the Noto Peninsula Earthquake, factories are being restored in the hard-hit Ishikawa Prefecture.

The Hokuriku region is home to many factories that manufacture electronic components, among other products, and companies are starting to feel the impact of lost sales.

On Friday, Eizo Corp., a major manufacturer of liquid crystal displays, restored to full working order the production line at its plant in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture.

“We’ve been desperately working on what’s in front of us. Production is finally back to normal,” said Satoshi Iwamoto, a production manager of the company.

The Nanao plant manufactures monitors such as for personal computers. Having learned from past earthquakes, the plant took measures to prevent equipment from falling over, which helped keep such damage to a minimum.

However, it still took time to recover from the disaster, as many employees were affected and the buildings were damaged.

With support from the head office in Hakusan in the prefecture, the plant resumed operations on Jan. 22. It has been gradually restoring production to pre-quake levels, taking into account the situation of employees affected by the disaster.

“The return to normal business operations will send a positive message to the affected areas,” said Iwamoto, 63. “We want to increase production as we repair the buildings.”

Eizo expects to record an extraordinary loss of ¥500 million in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2024, due to repair costs at its Nanao plant and another plant in Hakui in the prefecture, and also anticipates a ¥500 million drop in sales.

Yomiuri Shimbun photo
The cafeteria ceiling at Eizo’s Nanao plant still shows damage from the earthquake on Wednesday.

Delays to full recovery

Murata Manufacturing Co., a major electronic components manufacturer, has 13 plants in Ishikawa, Toyama and Fukui prefectures.

The plants are gradually being restored except for the plant in Anamizu, Ishikawa Prefecture, which makes parts for smartphones. The Anamizu plant will not be able to resume operations until mid-May or later.

The company expects to incur a loss of ¥3 to ¥5 billion due to the time required to repair facilities and buildings.

Sanken Electric Co. suffered damage at its three plants in Ishikawa Prefecture that manufacture semiconductors for automobiles. Although the plants have gradually resumed production since late January, they will not be fully back online until mid- to late-March.

Supply network

The supply network for parts has also been affected.

Olympus Corp. has been unable to project a recovery as its parts supplier’s plant in Ishikawa Prefecture was damaged by the disaster.

The company has cut production of endoscopes, its core product, and lowered its consolidated earnings forecast for fiscal 2023. Its net profit is expected to be ¥252 billion, down ¥37 billion from a pre-quake forecast.

Yet another challenge is rebuilding small and midsize enterprises that support the local economy.

The government is subsidizing the cost to restore damaged factories and production machinery by up to ¥1.5 billion per company in Ishikawa Prefecture and ¥300 million per company in Toyama, Fukui and Niigata prefectures.

The government also intends to strengthen cash flow support to maintain employment and business continuity.