Belfast Telegraph

Businesses here are helping with the relief efforts

Northern Ireland businesses have been responding to the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami in the Far East.

There are a number of firms based in or with interest in Japan or with Japanese parent companies.

First Derivatives, Andor, Suki Tea and George Lowden Guitars all trade in Japan.

Canyon Europe in Newtownabbey is a European subsidiary of the Japanese Canyon Corporation, specialising in the design and manufacture of sprayers and dispensers.

Robert Mullan from the company said that staff near the Japanese capital were left shaken by the quake.

"Employees at the factory north of Tokyo felt the earthquake, the building moved and some our our moulding machines were dislodged," he said.

"Water pipes were also broken and although no one was hurt, the production line was disrupted and we are now in the process of setting up for business again."

RYOBI Aluminium Casting Limited in Carrickfergus is part of the Ryobi Corporation headquartered in Japan and manufactures aluminium die cast products for the European automotive market.

And electronics firm Fujitsu also operates in Northern Ireland.

Although a spokesman said there there is no direct impact in relation to Fujitsu in Northern Ireland, the company is donating 100 million yen and relief supplies to support the rescue and recovery efforts and has asked customers for "their understanding and support at this difficult time".

Andor Technology also have offices in Japan and a spokeswoman said all employees and clients are accounted for.

"We have established contact and all our staff and customers and their extended families are safe and well," she said.

"Obviously as a company our primary concern is for people and we will support staff and clients as best we can, although it is hard to know the full situation from the other side of the world.

"We won't be rushing anyone back to their desks as we realise this is a very difficult situation and we have not yet been able to calculate if this has had a negative effect on the business."

A spokeswoman from Invest NI said that one member of staff based in Tokyo has been located and is safe and well.

"Invest NI does have a representative based in Tokyo who promotes Northern Ireland as an investment location," she said.

"Immediately following the earthquake, Invest NI made contact with him and he confirmed that he and his family were safe.

"Invest NI continues to maintain daily contact."