Early Friday afternoon, local time in Japan, one of the five strongest earthquakes in the past century hit. With the epicenter in the northeastern part of Japan, just off the coast from the city of Sendai, an 8.9-magnatude quake struck followed by tremendous tsunami waves. The relatively shallow but very strong earthquake was felt throughout much of Japan, including Tokyo.
Together, the record-level earthquake and tsunami have devastated many parts of northeastern Japan and caused damage in Tokyo and surrounding regions. The human toll is still being tallied, but the cost is already quite dear and a terrible tragedy for so many Japanese impacted by the strength of the earthquake and followed by significant tsunami waves.
With roughly 20-25% of the global NAND flash memory production in Japan, as well as many other semiconductor, automotive semi, and related fabs and assemblies located in affected areas, the impact on the global semiconductor industry as well as other industries and world markets is only at the forecasting stage right now.
Power failure as well as the removal of four of Japan's nuclear power plants from the electrical system is a critical issue not only for Japan and the Japanese people, but importantly for the fabs and fab production lines. At the present time, the exact impact of this catastrophe is in speculation mode and we at Smith MarketWatch are awaiting more confirmation prior to posting our forecasted impacts on the semiconductor industry.
One thing is certain though, even at this early stage. Today's catastrophic natural events are very serious and still ongoing. The negative impact of these events will affect the semiconductor industry in serious manner, as well as the terrible loss of human life and economic and agricultural damage to Japan (and still to be seen the effects of the rippling tsunami throughout the Pacific Ocean).
We will post an update to this news later today and as events unfold and more data are available.
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