In mid-April 2016, a series of powerful earthquakes struck the Kumamoto region of southern Japan. A number of major camera companies have important operations in that area, and now, weeks later, those companies are still working recover from the disaster.
Sony, Fujifilm, and Nikon all have suppliers and/or factories located in the manufacturing region. Two days after the earthquakes, Sony issued a press release stating that its camera sensor factory in Kumamoto was shut down and suspended due to damage to the building and manufacturing lines.
Fujifilm reported earlier this month that it has resumed operations at its factory in Kumamoto and hopes to restore its operations to pre-earthquake levels by the end of May. It’s also inspecting the camera equipment stock in its warehouse to ensure that gear shipped out to photographers weren’t damaged by the quake.
Fuji’s also offering photographers in Japan a 50% discount on repairs if their gear was directly damaged by the disaster.
Nikon stated on April 20th that its production and sales will be affected due to its suppliers being impacted, and we’re starting to see the effects now. Nikon Rumors reports that many of the rebates and promotional offers being offered by Nikon are being cancelled.
“All of these actions are supposedly a direct reaction to the recent Kumamoto earthquakes in Japan,” writes Nikon Rumors. “There is a good chance that the damage to Nikon’s facilities and/or suppliers may have been far greater than originally thought/reported.”
There’s a good chance that in addition to seeing supply issues with gear from these top brands, we could also be seeing price increases in the coming months as the companies try to restore their businesses.