TOKYO (March 16, 2011)—Synthetic rubber producer JSR Corp. said it has halted production at its Kashima plant in Kamisu City, Ibaraki Prefecture, after the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan March 11, but hasn't found any significant damage.
Zeon Corp. said its SR facilities and staff came through the disaster OK, as did Solutia Inc.'s Flexsys Akzo Nobel K.K facility in Kashima.
JSR—which reported its butyl rubber facility in Ichihara City, Chiba Prefecture, continues to operate normally, subject to power-outages—said that automatic interlocks at the Kashima site detected the earthquake and stopped production. An initial inspection detected no significant damage to buildings, and more detailed inspections are on-going.
The local water supply has been interrupted, so operations remain down at the factory, which makes polysioprene, ethylene-propylene rubber and latex. At the same site, Japan Butyl Co. Ltd. produces halogenated butyl rubber, and Kraton JSR Elastomers K.K. makes thermoplastic elastomers.
“We are unable to report at this stage when product shipment from the Kashima Area will resume,” the company said.
At Ichihara City, no damage was reported but supply may be interrupted because of planned power outages and other infrastructure issues within the wider chemical complex, the firm said. The JSR plant makes butadiene rubber and butadiene monomer, the latter in Tobu Butadiene Co., Ltd., a joint venture between JSR and Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd.
Zeon said there were no physical damages, personnel injuries or casualties reported at its Japan facilities following the quake and tsunami.
However, the firm said there may be a reduction in output because of phased electric power outages, which may curtain raw material supply.
The Flexsys Akzo Nobel plant has enough inventory to support commitments now, Solutia said. The unit makes industrial chemicals.
Meanwhile, Lanxess A.G. said it temporarily closed its Tokyo headquarters office and banned other staff from travelling there. Local staff have moved temporarily to the Rhein Chemie rubber chemicals plant in Toyohashi, 155 miles southwest of the Japanese capital, which continues to operate.
The company said it employs about 100 in Japan, all of whom are unharmed and there has been no damage to its facilities.