Disaster’s ripple effect widens across US

As Japan braces for more misery and devastation, millions around the globe felt other disruptions ranging from where to buy exotic Japanese pet fish to whether they will get replacement parts to keep factory robots on the job.

Japan dominates 70 percent of the world’s market for robotics that do everything from packing candy bars and slicing potatoes to assembling precision instruments and weapons.

With huge swaths of the island nation blacked out and energy growing more scarce, many of its industrial giants have shuttered during the crisis.

Sony and Toyota curtailed operations, as did Toray Industries, the world’s biggest producer of carbon fiber, which is used in products ranging from space ships and sailboats to golf clubs and laptops.

Sony told all its offshore employees to avoid returning home for now and to use video conferences with colleagues and others.

Closer to home, Metro-North Railroad said Japan’s earthquake crisis delayed delivery of 10 new rail cars from Kawasaki, with other new cars to be built by a plant in Nebraska.

The strife could even trickle down to exotic fish lovers. The country is a major supplier of aquarium fish, and the world’s top producer of the prized and brightly colored Koi. New World Aquarium on East 38th Street said Israel’s emerging Koi farms could take up the slack.

“We aren’t worried yet,” said a store spokesman.

Some Japanese manufacturers will keep operating — at least until raw materials run out.

“Getting raw materials into Japan is a big problem right now, but we’re continuing to operate,” said the chief executive of one major manufacturer, who asked to remain anonymous.

Costco said its Tamasaki store in Japan suffered a partial collapse, with all employees escaping injury, while nine other stores would remain open. Coach said 20 of its 165 Japanese stores were closed, with hours and staffing reduced.

Article source: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/disaster_ripple_effect_widens_across_Wt5DF2NS1Gx6Jt24eegy8L

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