March 21st, 2011
03:03 AM GMT
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(CNN) – The total cost of the quake and tsunami on the Japanese economy could hit $235 billion and take five years for the nation to rebuild, according to a World Bank report released Monday.

“If history is any guide, real gross domestic product growth will be negatively affected through mid-2011,” the report said. “Growth should though pick up in subsequent quarters as reconstruction efforts, which could last five years, accelerate.

“While it is too early to estimate accurately, the cost of the damage is likely to be greater than the damage caused by the 6.9 magnitude Kobe earthquake in 1995,” the report added.

The report projects that cost estimates could range between $122 billion to $235 billion, or between 2.5% and 4% of GDP, citing government and private estimates. The Kobe earthquake, which killed nearly 6500 people, cost around $100 billion.

The impact on trade in East Asia, however, should be temporary, with a short-term affect on trade – especially automobiles and electronics – and finance. “After the Kobe earthquake, Japan’s trade slowed only for a few quarters before recovering,” the report said. “Within a year, imports had recovered fully and exports had rebounded to 85 percent of pre-quake levels.”

The human cost, however, is still being assessed: As of Sunday night, Japan's National Police Agency said that 8,277 people were confirmed dead and 12,722 had been reported missing.

“The tragic earthquake on March 11 in Japan with a magnitude 9 on the Richter scale—the most powerful in the country’s recorded history and fourth most severe in the world—and the subsequent tsunami are a stark reminder of the unpredictable dangers posed by natural hazards,” the report said. “The loss of life has been heartbreaking … (but) the Japanese people have shown strength and resilience as they struggle to deal with this crisis.”

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. myq

    The impact on trade in East Asia, however, should be temporary, with a short-term affect on trade??? Oh, trade will feel bad?

    March 21, 2011 at 5:15 am |
  2. bakrin babalola

    japan is a great nation which gives me the intuition that they will rise again in glory against all odds. may the souls of those who have died in the course of this natural disaster rest in peace and the ones living should braise themselves cause they are not alone in this fight.

    March 21, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  3. Joshua Kalmikoff

    Hey, at least it's cheaper than the $800 billion TARP bailout. Who would have thought linen is 4x more expensive than the infrastructure of a country?

    March 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  4. Jannie Degenaar

    Just a thought that came up after looking at all the destruction and chaos of the Japan disaster. Why can't all the wooden debris be collected and fed to a papermill, who can turn it into paper and be sold worldwide to help fund those victims who have lost everything? Or the victims can 'sell' the wood to the mill and earn money that way. Plus it will save a few trees in the process as well?


    March 21, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  5. imenevazno

    A huge economic impact from the attack. Remember this:

    This also looked interesting:

    March 21, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  6. icons downloads

    I join. So happens. Let's discuss this question. Here or in PM.

    November 4, 2012 at 4:38 pm |

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