Sony, Subaru, and Toyota close factories in wake of earthquake, other companies check in

Our thoughts this morning are with the folks in Japan and the other Pacific areas affected by the massive 8.9 earthquake that struck about 230 miles East of Tokyo. Reports of damage are flooding in from the country, and indeed many familiar manufacturers are checking in. Sony and Toyota have both stopped operations in their factories due to damage. Tragically, one Honda worker lost his life after a wall collapsed, while several Panasonic workers are said to have suffered minor injuries. It remains to be seen exactly what impacts this will have on consumers, but Sony's closed factories were responsible for the production of Blu-ray discs and batteries, while the numerous automotive shutdowns could result in short-term shortages. This bad news sent stocks downward, with German share prices for Sony dropping 2.5 percent and Honda 4.5 percent. We're still watching with concern to see what other impacts the resultant tsunamis could have, but for now we'll keep hoping for the best.

Update: Some further news from Smarthouse, which indicates that Sharp's new 10G LCD plant in Sakai City shut itself down automatically upon first signs of a quake. Hooray for technology.