News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 15, 2011

Sony starts worldwide ’quake relief

Terre Haute’s DADC employees to contribute donations to effort

Staff Writer
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Sony Corp. is responding to a devastating earthquake and tsunami with a corporate contribution and a disaster relief fund to collect donations companywide.

The corporation on Sunday announced it would donate 300 million Japanese yen (about $3.66 million) to help relief and recovery efforts for northern Japan. Also, a disaster relief fund will collect donations across the Sony Group from employees worldwide. Their contributions will be matched by the company through a matching gift program.

Shelley Klingerman, marketing manager at Sony DADC in Terre Haute, said the local plant will follow directives from Sony Corp. of America, but as of Monday had not received information.

“We are rolling into SCA’s effort. I imagine it will be for every $1 we donate, they will match a percent of that,” she said.

The company also announced it would donate 30,000 Sony radios to assist in the relief of earthquake victims and may have other production donations based on needs.

On Monday, Sony announced several of its manufacturing sites had been affected by the earthquake that struck the Pacific coast of Tohoku and produced a tsunami. The company stated it was voluntarily suspending operations at several sites because of widespread power outages.

Manufacturing was suspended at Sony Chemical & Information Device Corp., Tagajyo Plant, which makes magnetic tapes and Blue-ray discs; Tome Plant, Nakada/Toyosato sites, which make optical devices; Sony Shiroishi Semiconductor Inc., which makes semiconductor lasers; Sony Energy Devices Corp., Koriyama Plant, which makes lithium ion secondary batteries; Sony Energy Devices Corp., Motomiya Plant, which also makes lithium ion secondary batteries; Sony Manufacturing Systems Corp., Kuki Plant, which makes surface mounting equipment; and Sony DADC Japan Inc., Ibaraki facility, which makes recordable CDs and DVDs.

Additionally, Sony Chemical & Information Devices Corp., Kanuma Plant; Sony Energy Devices Corp., Tochigi Plant; and Sony Corp. Atsugi Technology Center temporarily suspended operations voluntarily to help alleviate widespread power outages.

Sony reported its Sendai Technology Center has ceased operation because earthquake damage.

 The company stated it is currently evaluating the full impact of the earthquake, tsunami and related power outages on Sony's businesses and consolidated financial results.

Another Japanese-based company in Vigo County did not have any overseas manufacturing impacted.

Dennis Handschu, senior manager at Advics Manufacturing Indiana, formerly Aisin Brake & Chasis in the Vigo County Industrial Park, said none of the company’s manufacturing sites was impacted.

The company had a quality engineer and manufacturing engineer in Toyko at the time, but the two workers are now back in the United States. “They were quite a bit south of where the earthquake hit and just felt some shaking for a lot longer than usual,” lasting for several minutes instead of 10 or 20 seconds, Handschu said.

Terre Haute also has connections with Japan through its sister city, Tajimi, located in the central part of the nation. Donna Christenberry of Terre Haute, a former Tribune-Star employee, said she spoke via e-mail to two residents of Tajimi.

“People felt the earthquake, but there was no major damage in the city,” Christenberry said. “They were about 300 miles from the epicenter.” She corresponded with Mayui Matsuda, an employee of the city, and Chizuko Ohta, a friend Christenberry met while working in Tajimi in 1990-1991 as an assistant to an English teacher at a junior high school.