Quake shocks Japan’s economy

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In 2004, one of its semiconductor plants in the region was hit by an earthquake that also registered 6.8 magnitude. That ended up hurting the company’s earnings.

Sanyo briefly closed the plant again after Monday’s quake but reopened it after determining there was no damage. Any financial impact this time would be minimal, it said in a statement.

Of wider concern was an impending electricity crunch.

TEPCO warned Wednesday that the closure of its seven-reactor Kashiwazaka-Karima plant, which provides up to 13 percent of the utility’s total electricity output, could trigger a power shortage for the busy capital in the summer months.

The company was considering bringing six retired thermal power generators into operation to prepare for a surge in demand as people turn up their air conditioners.

The utility has also asked six other Japanese power companies to sell it emergency electricity from late July through the end of September.

“We are working hard to prevent the worst case scenario — an energy shortage,” company spokesman Shogo Fukuda said yesterday. “We would also call on our customers to redouble their energy-saving efforts.”

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