ESRI Discussion Paper Series No.286
Aftermath of the 3.11 Disaster :
An Analytical Evaluation Using Official Statistics

Yoshio Higuchi
Keio University
Tomohiko Inui
Nihon University
Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office
Shigeru Sugiyama
Office of Statistics Commission, Cabinet Office
Kouji Wakabayashi
Office of Statistics Commission, Cabinet Office
Nobunori Kuga
Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office
Toshiaki Hosoi
Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office
Kengo Ikemoto
Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office
Isao Takabe
Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office
Yoshikazu Uematsu
Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
Takeyori Arimitsu
Office of Statistics Commission, Cabinet Office

The full text is written in Japanese.

Abstract

On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami hit the Tohoku region of Japan, causing the loss of a great number of lives and property. The earthquake and tsunami also damaged nuclear plants in Fukushima Prefecture, resulting in the release of radioactive substances into the environment. This extensive natural disaster presented numerous challenges not only to the affected areas but also to the Japanese economy as a whole. This study examines the recovery process one year after the disaster, including changes in demographic characteristics, employment, production of main industries and consumer buying behavior in Japan. Various official statistics are used to capture the recovery process quantitatively.

Key findings of the study are as follows: 1) population aging in the affected areas has been accelerated due to an exodus of younger generations in response to the disaster; 2) although the employment situation in the affected areas has improved gradually, many people are still without jobs, partly because of a mismatch in employment between job seekers looking for local industry jobs (especially in the local seafood processing industry) and employers recruiting construction and healthcare workers in the tsunami-hit region; 3) while some industrial sectors have recovered, such as the automobile and construction machinery industries, overall industrial activity in Japan is still in the process of recovering from the disaster; 4) 80 percent of farmers in the tsunami-hit region suffer from a loss of arable land because of salt pollution and piles of rubble; 5) although overall large retail store sales in the affected areas quickly recovered within a month after the disaster, sales of household electrical appliances and eating out have not yet returned to those pre-quake levels; and 6) harmful rumors caused by the Fukushima nuclear accident have severely damaged the agricultural and tourist industries in the Tohoku region, resulting in price drops in local agricultural products and a decrease in the number of tourists visiting to the region.

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