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Lack of packaging keeps shelves empty  Daily Yomiuri

Weeks after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, shelves in many stores remain empty of food and various everyday items. It is often not the products themselves that are in shortage, however, but containers and packaging. Containers for natto, a traditional Japanese dish of fermented soybeans, and cartons for milk are scarce, and a lack of ink has hampered production of some magazines.


The milk supply chain has been disrupted by a shortage of cardboard cartons. Nippon Paper-Pak Co., a major beverage packaging firm, had to suspend operations at its two plants in Ibaraki Prefecture due to the disaster, and its storage warehouse was damaged. Although it had resumed normal operations as of Tuesday, the company said it would take time for its output to catch up to milk firms' demand.

With water contamination scares pushing up demand for bottled mineral water, the beverage industry is facing a shortage of caps for plastic bottles. Bottle cap production at Japan Crown Cork Co.'s plant in Ishioka, Ibaraki Prefecture, and Nihon Yamamura Glass Co.'s factory in Utsunomiya have been halted. Production by the nation's three leading cap makers has slowed to 60 percent of pre-earthquake levels. Output at factories in western Japan has been increased, but this has not been enough to meet the gap. "We haven't been able to get the amount [of caps] we want. This is now having a negative impact on our efforts to boost production," an official of a major beverage maker said.


Publisher Shueisha Inc. has been hit by shipping disruptions as well as shortages of paper and ink. It postponed the March 28 release of comic magazine "Weekly Shonen Jump" by one week, and pushed back the release of "Kochikame Volume 174" and other comic book titles from Monday until April 21.

Procuring ink, in particular, has become difficult. Earthquake damage to equipment at Maruzen Petrochemical Co.'s plant in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, has stopped production of Diisobutylene, a chemical product used to make ink. The Chiba factory was responsible for 100 percent of the domestic supply of Diisobutylene, so its troubles have had a huge impact on the publishing industry.

Lots of nails gone missing.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Apr 2nd, 2011 at 10:36:05 PM EST

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