Quake impact on economy 'considerable': Japan govt

Updated: 2011-03-14 07:51

(China Daily)

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Quake impact on economy 'considerable': Japan govt
Ships washed away by tsunami sit on the land near a port in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, on Sunday, after Japan's biggest recorded earthquake hit its eastern coast on Friday. Itsuo Inouye / Associated Press

TOKYO - Japan's government said on Sunday it expects the economic impact of Friday's huge quake, and the devastating tsunami that followed, to be "considerable".

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Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the government would hold a meeting on Sunday to assess economic damage from the disaster which laid waste to parts of the northeastern coast and triggered an atomic emergency.

"The quake is expected to have considerable impact on a wide range of our country's economic activities," he said.

Analysts say it will take weeks to get a firm idea of the extent of the damage inflicted on the nation and its economy, as the destruction wrought by the biggest ever quake to strike Japan continues to emerge.

The government has said thousands of people were believed to have lost their lives, but the police chief in badly hit Miyagi Prefecture said the death toll there alone is certain to exceed 10,000.

The quake and tsunami have damaged or closed down key ports. Some airports shut in the immediate aftermath have since reopened, but transport infrastructure has been crippled along parts of the northeast.

Many top Japanese firms have said they are suspending operations.

Automakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda have announced the total suspension of production in Japan until at least Monday. Sony has also shuttered plants.

On Sunday Mitsubishi said it would halt production at all three of its domestic plants on Monday and Tuesday. Suzuki motors also said it was suspending all domestic plant operations on Monday.

AIR Worldwide, a leading risk analysis firm, said on Sunday its catastrophe modeling showed that property losses from Friday's disaster is preliminary, but estimates insured property losses likely will be "between $14.5 billion and $34.6 billion".

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) said it would do its "utmost" to provide market liquidity and ensure the stability of financial markets on Friday after the quake struck.

The BoJ also announced that the two-day policy board meeting previously scheduled for Monday and Tuesday would now be cut short and conclude on Monday, seen as a sign it may quickly implement extraordinary measures.

BoJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa said on Sunday the central bank will thoroughly consider the economic impact during Monday's meeting.

The central bank will also spare no efforts to ensure power outages will have minimal impact on Japan's bank settlement system, Shirakawa told reporters after attending a meeting of cabinet ministers for discussions on the economy.

"It is very important to ensure a stable settlement system and to provide financial markets with ample liquidity," Shirakawa said.

Agence France-Presse


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