Tokyo earthquake predicted to cause 95 trillion yen loss in Japan's economy
A government report on damage that could result from a magnitude-7 earthquake below Tokyo has revealed serious vulnerabilities in the capital, the seat of most of the country's political and economic activities.
The Central Disaster Prevention Council's report said Japan's economy would face severe harm in the event of a large-scale earthquake beneath the capital. That damage ranged from decline in productivity due to factory and distribution route damage, to stock and exchange market turmoil, to adverse effects on people's everyday lives.
The economic damage was estimated to be as high as 95.3 trillion yen -- roughly matching the yearly government budget. Longer-term problems the panel highlighted included the possibility of Japanese companies relocating their functions overseas and the outflow of foreign investment from the country.
The report analyzed disaster damage and lasting economic damage in chronological order. According to the analysis, daily products would not reach local convenience stores or supermarkets for two to three days after the earthquake because emergency vehicles would be given priority to use the main traffic routes.
Although major supermarket operators such as Aeon Co. say they have prepared distribution routes in other parts of the country, supply shortages due to factory damage and strict traffic control would make it difficult for companies to distribute products. The report estimates that supply shortages in the metropolitan area would continue even after the fourth day of the disaster.
In addition, the report predicted power shortages due to suspended operations of electric power stations, and said rolling blackouts would be possible from the fourth day of the disaster.
Meanwhile, officials predict that the Bank of Japan's systems would restart within the first day of the disaster even if it shut down temporarily, while the Tokyo Stock Exchange would also recover from temporary suspension within 24 hours. They predict that while it is possible that people might not be able to withdraw money out of ATMs for a while, banks would open temporary teller windows for customers as early as the second day.
The report, however, points out that stock prices could stagnate for a long period as a result of market turmoil brought on by the disaster.
December 20, 2013(Mainichi Japan)