Japan, and not the latest mobile applications and devices, will likely be the major undercurrent to conversations held this week at the U.S. wireless industry’s annual confab in Orlando, Fla.

The CTIA Wireless show has long played third fiddle to the higher profile Consumer Electronics Show and Mobile World Congress trade shows, which kick off the first two months of the year with major gadget and mobile-related announcements.

But this year’s show will be the first gathering of major technology companies since an earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan, providing a forum to weigh the impact of the disaster. Technology is intimately tied to Japan because the country is among the world’s largest suppliers of components crucial to gadgets such as smartphones and computers.

“It will be interesting to see what the tenor of the conference is,” said Phil Asmundson, a technology consultant with Deloitte. “With the crisis in Japan, there’s a lot of distractions.”

Japan accounted for 13.9% of all global electronic equipment revenue and one-fifth of global semiconductor production last year, according to research firm IHS iSuppli. With many chip-manufacturing facilities shut down because of aftershocks in the region, the firm said that many electronics manufacturers could potentially rush to buy up supplies.

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