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Japanese Export Halt Causes a Scramble For High Tech Components

Japan’s multiple disasters are presenting a threat to Houston manufacturing. Andrew Schneider reports.



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Help me keyboardLast week’s earthquake and tsunami struck far from Japan’s industrial regions. But the explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, and the risk of a meltdown, are disrupting manufacturing across the country.

Arthur Alexander is an expert on the Japanese economy at Georgetown University.

“I think that, in the short run, it’s quite serious. We’ll probably lose a good deal of output for several weeks until electricity supplies get back up and running.”

Japan is a critical source of high-tech components for the U.S., ranging from semiconductors to specialty steel. Alexander says it’s possible to find alternative suppliers,

“But it takes time, it takes effort, and it takes a lot of scrambling to get that, because often it’s already committed to other customers. We’re finding a lot of logistics managers and production managers working late into the night these days, scrambling around looking for supplies.”

Houston technology firms could face bottlenecks that last into April.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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