The devastating March earthquake and ensuing tsunami left thousands dead and led to severe radiation fears. There's no other way to say it: It was a tragedy of epic proportions. A host of MI companies have large presences in Japan. We reached out to get their reactions to find out what happened in Japan. Are their employees safe? Editor's Note: These responses are based on the March earthquake. We went to press just as the subsequent April 7 aftershock took place and could not get reactions in time for this issue.
Yamaha USA President Tak Nakata issued the following statement: "On behalf of Yamaha, I wish to thank our business partners in the United States for their thoughts and prayers in response to the earthquake that impacted Japan and the Pacific basin last night.
"As far as we know, no Yamaha employees have been injured as a result of this disaster. Also, there has been no significant damage to our offices or factories. It is still too early to determine if this ongoing situation will affect shipments due to the currently unknown impact on ports, vessels and shipping lanes. We will provide additional information just as soon as it is made available to Yamaha.
"The destruction and damage in Japan is quite massive in cities and coastal towns in Northern Japan. We pray for those individuals and families impacted by this catastrophe."
In an e-mail to the Music & Sound Retailer, Hoshino USA President William Reim told us: "Obviously, this is not only one of the worst catastrophes to strike Japan, but also one of the worst our generation has known—period. When we first got word of this here in the States last Friday, we were immediately concerned about the safety and welfare of our counterparts on the other side of the globe. Initially, it was difficult getting information because all of the cell networks were down and Internet service was intermittent, at best. Plus, Japan was already into their weekend, which means Hoshino Gakki and its people were, in large part, inaccessible.
"Finally, late Friday, someone from our office was able to get through to someone and confirm that the company—its facilities and people—were all OK. Fortunately, they are far enough south of the quake/tsunami zone to have been spared any real damage. But now the concern has shifted to this situation with the four crippled power plants.
"Again, being located as far south as they are in Nagoya, Hoshino Gakki is quite far from the problem area. So, for now, they are OK. However, this does little to ease their (and our) concerns for their country and its people.
"Being a Japanese company means many of us here in the U.S. are constantly being called on to travel to Japan. For many of us, Japan is second nature…its culture, its geography, its people…so the impact has cut a little closer to the bone. So far, we've been lucky in knowing that the people we work with are safe. But we all feel a real sadness when we see what's happening there and just hope and pray that the situation improves…fast."
"We are very fortunate that all employees of Roland Corporation in Japan are safe," Chris Bristol, president and CEO of Roland Corp. U.S., said. "There was no damage to our offices or production facilities and all are operating as usual. At the same time, like everyone, the entire Roland family worldwide is concerned about all the residents of Northern Japan. Our hearts and prayers go out to them."
Audio-Technica issued this statement: "Audio Technica U.S. extends its deepest condolences to those affected by the 2011 Tohoku Pacific Coast earthquake. Audio-Technica Japan facilities have not been damaged by the disaster, and all employees are accounted for and safe. Operations at Audio-Technica Japan are normal, although minimally affected by power outages, as office workers with long commutes are working from home when possible via cell phone and computer. The company is constantly monitoring the status of operations at all sites, with safety being the No.1 priority. Audio-Technica U.S. is assessing the effect this disaster may have on its supply chain, but, at this time, no major disruptions are anticipated. To help in the relief and recovery efforts for communities affected by the Tohoku earthquake, Audio-Technica U.S. is making a donation to the Japanese Red Cross Society."
"We are tremendously grateful that our colleagues in Japan are safe, and that our facilities have not been damaged," said Audio-Technica U.S. President Phil Cajka. "Our deepest sympathies are with the victims of this disaster. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan, and to our colleagues and friends at Audio-Technica Japan and their families."
NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond sent the following e-mail to NAMM members:
"The global community of the NAMM membership stands ready to assist our friends in Japan.
"As the events in Japan continue to unfold, our thoughts and prayers are with all NAMM members and their families impacted by last week's massive earthquake and tsunami
"We have been in contact with many of our friends in Japan, and their responses have been inspiring. I can report that, at this time, we have no direct knowledge that any NAMM member was in harm's way when the earthquake and tsunami hit. We are concerned about some of the music teachers who taught in the affected area, and hope to hear that they have all been accounted for soon.
"The people of Japan have shown great strength and honor as they deal with the enormity of this natural disaster. As the recovery efforts turn into rebuilding in the weeks and months ahead, we would like our Japanese friends to know that they are not alone.
"We have the latest information and links to charitable organizations that are equipped to take your donations.
"Many of our friends have expressed how meaningful your messages and calls of encouragement have been to them this past week. Please continue to reach out to all of your colleagues in Japan and let them know you are thinking of them. The global community of NAMM members and the entire music products industry is unified in our message: We stand ready to help our Japanese members in any way we can as they work to recover as quickly as possible from this unprecedented event."
Media Integration, the Japanese distributor for IK Multimedia, offered this account from Shion Tamura: "We felt the ground shake heavily even in Tokyo at 2:46 p.m. on March 11, but it was only after we had returned home and watched the TV news that we realized the amount of devastation. We send our heartfelt sympathies to the people who were directly hit by the massive earthquake and tsunami. At the same time, we are moved to see people trying to keep their spirits up and willing to help each other. We see teenagers spreading tips on how to save energy and make a difference. We see professional musicians making a song every day and uploading it to be listened to for free."
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