Japan's history shows it will bounce back

George Jones, Renaissance College
George Jones, Renaissance College |

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News regarding the Japanese earthquake on March 11 reverberated around the world, much of it relating to the radiation problems surrounding the Fukushima power plant and Japan's recovery.

Aid has flooded in from all nations and organisations such as the Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres. But aid can only do so much. The Japanese government says the rebuilding could cost the country up to US$309 billion.

One would think that with those costs, and Japan's declining economy, this would take several decades to complete. But Japan need only look back to the 1995 Kobe earthquake for inspiration. The 7.0 earthquake resulted in the belief that Japan would suffer from a drop in the gross domestic product (GDP) and an economic downturn - this never happened, in fact the reverse did. By the year's end, GDP had actually grown by 2.6 per cent - partly thanks to the massive development of infrastructure and housing needed by the reconstruction effort.

Hopes for the same occurring once more offer a glimmer of hope to residents of the Sendai area. However, multinationals, such as Sony and Toshiba, have had production stopped or slowed due to aftershocks and damaged factories. Furthermore, worries surrounding the Fukushima plant have led to the hasty departure of foreign nationals and companies. Such stumbling blocks need to be overcome quickly if we are to see a smooth recovery.