* Canon idles large southern Japan camera plant on parts
* Supply-chain woes likely to spread-analyst
* Electronics shares rebound after post-quake plunge
TOKYO, March 16 Japanese electronics
manufacturers warned production would be hobbled by further
supply and distribution problems as companies struggle with
power blackouts after the disaster in Japan.
Canon said it would suspend production at one of its main
plants in Oita, southern Japan, blaming problems with parts
supply and distribution.
"News that the earthquake has disrupted the supply chain for
production bases in Kyushu, a long way from the Tohoku region,
will probably come as a bit of a surprise, but this shows the
potential for similar disruption at other companies," Citigroup
analyst Masahiro Shibano said in a note.
The Oita plant, which makes cameras, lenses and compact
printers, employs 4,500 people.
Japan accounts for 14 percent of the global production of
computers, consumer electronics and communications gear last
year, according to IHS iSuppli.
The prospect of extended supply disruption has already
pushed prices for key technology parts higher. If the supply
chain is broken for even a few weeks, the impact could be felt
in higher prices or shortages of gadgets such as tablets,
smartphones and computers for months to come.
Nikon said the suspension of its precision
equipment plants in north Japan could eventually disrupt
production at factories closer to the capital, which could run
out of parts. The company's factories in the Tokyo region may
also be affected by the rolling power blackouts, expected to be
in force the end of April.
Japan Earthquake Top News page
Charting the Japan crisis: r.reuters.com/fyh58r
Picture, graphic packages: r.reuters.com/wyb58r
In Tokyo, transport woes hampered operations. Sony
said only 120 of its 6,000 staff were working at its main Tokyo
office building on Wednesday, due to management concerns over
rail service disruptions.
Shares in the maker of Bravia televisions however bounced
back nearly 9 percent on Wednesday, after slumping 17 percent in
two days following Japan's disaster, which has destroyed swathes
of the northeast Japanese coast.
Shares in Panasonic were also up 7.4 percent as
some firms inspected their plants and looked to resume
Sony said on Wednesday it would re-start a plant in Kanuma,
north of Tokyo, where it makes industrial adhesives and optical
film, leaving 7 other plants and two research and development
centres still suspended after the quake.
A Sony spokeswoman said the company was inspecting some
facilities to see when production might be resumed, but was
still not sure when this would be possible. One plant in Miyagi,
making magnetic tape and Blu-ray disks was severely damaged by
Reconstruction of infrastructure from roads to rail, power
and ports in the affected regions in Japan will take at least
five years, experts said this week.
(Reporting by Isabel Reynolds and Tim Kelly; Editing by Joseph
Radford and Anshuman Daga)