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Triangle businesses look to support shaken workers in Japan

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All of Quintiles' 2,300 employees in Japan are accounted for and safe, although some have damage to their homes and some have lost family members.

The Durham-based pharmaceutical services company and other local businesses have raced to reach all of their workers in Japan after last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami. One problem has been making contact with phone lines jammed. But e-mail and other online communications are working.

As long as conditions in Japan don't worsen, the plan was to resume operations on a regular schedule today, said spokesman Phil Bridges.

"However, Quintiles' primary concern is the safety and welfare of our employees and their families," Bridges said. "We will do everything we can to support them and meet their needs in this time of crisis."

Triangle software companies Red Hat and SAS also report that their employees in Japan are safe.

Xerium Technologies, a Raleigh-based maker of equipment used to produce paper, employs nearly 200 people at two facilities in Japan and all of them are safe. The company's Tokyo office sustained minor damage as cabinets fell over and scattered files.

"The folks were pretty 'shaken up,'  both literally and figuratively," said CEO Stephen Light, in an e-mail.

At a factory in Asahi, located northeast of Tokyo, there was no structural damage, but Xerium officials won't be able to check for equipment damage until power is restored, Light said. The factory lost a small amount of product when the electricity shut off unexpectedly, he added.

And some customers in the northern regions of Japan with plants located close to the shoreline have sustained more serious damage, Light said. "We cannot confirm the extent of the damage or how long it will take them to recover."

Light expects to learn more in a few days as conditions stabilize.

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About the blogger

Assistant Business Editor Alan M. Wolf joined the N&O in 1999 covering the business of health care. He became an editor in 2001, and helps oversee the paper's daily business coverage and Sunday Work&Money section. He lives in Clayton with his wife and two children. Reach him at 919-829-4572 or e-mail him.
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