Japanese manufacturer Panasonic (NYSE:PC; TYO:6752) has issued a statement detailing damage to three of its China manufacturing plants during the recent anti-Japan protests in some parts of China. Of those three, two remain closed with no date set for restarting production. Several plants closed on Monday, and battened down the hatches for the next day, which was the anniversary of the infamous Manchurian incident.
Panasonic says that there “were no injuries to personnel” but it did experience damage to buildings caused by scattered outbursts of violent demonstrations over the disputed islands between China and Japan. The company explains the situation at the three plants:
“ Qingdao factory (manufacturing electronic components such as switches)” saw “damage to the building, equipment, etc. With safety as a priority, preparations to restart the operations at the factory are underway, but the restarting date is uncertain. “
“ Zhuhai factory (manufacturing fixed-line phones)” had to stop “operations and employees have stayed at home, since approximately 10 Chinese employees made a protest. The factory is preparing to restart the operations, after ensuring safety.”
“ Suzhou factory (manufacturing printed-circuit board materials and printed-circuit boards)” experienced “some damage to the building, equipment, etc., [but] there was no major damage to production equipment. With safety as a priority, operations at the factory restarted from September 17.”
Panasonic then notes that: “Forecast of effect by the damage is uncertain at the moment,” and it’s also not sure if it’ll impact the company’s “financial outlook for fiscal 2013.”
China is a major center of hi-tech manufacturing for electronics companies, with Japanese foreign direct investment (FDI) thought to reach billions of dollars per annum. The anger over the disputed islands - variously called Diaoyu Islands in China; Senkaku Islands in Japan - is far from over with no talks or resolution in sight. If violent protests continue, it’s not inconceivalble that it’ll prompt Japanese manufacturers to follow the lead of Taiwan's Foxconn in looking at Brazil or Taiwan as a manufacturing base instead.