The recent earthquake in Japan has caused problems to the flat panel industry, mainly due to sortages in key semiconductors and materials.
Although flat panels are largely made further south in Japan and outside the affected area, Panasonic's plant in Mobara has been affected. The plant was producing 26" and 37" panels. Panasonic's Himeji fab was unaffected by the earthquake.
According to DisplaySearch, currently there is a short-term disruption to some semiconductors used for FPDs and TVs, and some specific connectors. The market research firm estimates that the issue is solvable with alternative sourcing.
Supply of IndiumTin Oxide (ITO) tergets and Anisotripic Conductive Film (ACF) - materials used for making LCD panels - may be also limited from the end of April and through May, affecting some panel makers, DisplaySearch added.
Significant on-going shortage of electrical power in the eastern part of Japan - Tohoku and Kanto (including Tokyo) areas is expected to continue for a long time. Power grids in Japan are different in western (60 Hz) and eastern (50 Hz) areas, with limited capacity to interconnect the two. The Japanese gonverment has also proceeded to rolling blackouts in east Japan to conserve power, further disrupting the operation of companies.
Transport disruption of specific material's production will occur and logistics in the Tohoku region will be affected for some time, DisplaySearch added.