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Posted on May 4th, 2014, by

The earthquake took place in the Tohoku region on the 11th of March in 2011 with a magnitude of around 9,0. It is considered to be the strongest earthquake in the whole history of Japan. Nevertheless, judging from the quantity of victims and the extent of destruction, it is not as disastrous as the earthquakes in 1896 and 1923 (Reilly 13). It took 30 minutes for tsunami waves to reach first victims. In 69 minutes the airport Sendai was underwater. Researchers predicted that there would be more earthquakes during a month after the disaster. The following research analyzes the economic, social and political consequences of the Great Earthquake. The research tries to answer the question how the earthquake has influenced the world financial market. It also deals with the measures taken by political authorities of Japan in order to improve social and economic situation in the country.

Social impacts

The tsunami caused by the earthquake resulted in over 300,000 refugees in the Tohoku region. It led to shortage of food, water, shelter and medicine. There have been created aid organizations in Japan and in the world in order to help rescue the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Among social impacts are the following:

–      The ground shakes lasted around 300 seconds (in comparison with 10-20 seconds during Kobe earthquake in 1995), which resulted in numerous deaths.

–      In 10 minutes tsunami has flooded territories, which will never be used again.

–      There have been a great number of uncontrollable fires in the territories close to the Tohoku region.

–      The rescue works has started soon after the earthquake. There has been a great need for evacuation on a large territory. The vertical evacuation was a priority.

–      The need for mass medical care has increased.

Tsunami shook the Eastern coast of Japan, destructing boats, cars, houses and people. The government has taken immediate measures in order to prevent social consequences of the tragedy and rescue people from the territory where the disaster took place.

Economic consequences

First of all, the earthquake greatly influenced the state finances and Japanese budget. The situation is complicated by the huge debt of Japan and limited abilities of Central Bank of Japan. The government had to borrow more finances than it had planned, which led to the growth of Japanese debt rate. Such situation had caused the growth of currency rate, and Japanese insurance companies had to sell out their assets in order to pay the insurance bonuses. On the 11th of March Japan got hit twice, from an environmental disaster and economic consequences. According to the primary predictions the insured losses varied from 14 to 34 billion dollars. After the disaster the Japanese Central Bank provided 15 trillion dollars in an attempt to normalize market situation. The economic cost of the earthquake was estimated to be 235 billion dollars, which makes it the most expensive environmental disaster in the world history.

In order to reconstruct the territories which suffered from the earthquake, the government should have found milliards of dollars. And most of this money has been borrowed, which increased the debt of the country. Such situation also influenced the growth of GDP. Numerous plants and factories have been totally closed, and this was only the beginning. Numerous factories have suffered from fire. Thus, there has been a big fire on the atomic power station Tohoku Electric, as well as on JFE Holdings, Inc. and several others (Kyodo News 35).

In general, Japan has fallen into a recession, although the consequences are temporary and short-lived. It has been the biggest disaster that ever happened on the Japanese island, and the economic consequences cannot be diminished. However, Japan still remains the world’s leader in economy, despite all the destruction caused by the Great Earthquake of 2011.

Political consequences

Soon after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident the Japanese government took immediate measures by releasing tons of radioactive water into the sea in order to make space for much more contaminated water. The neighboring countries considered this act as a violation of international law and blamed Japanese government for such measures. It has been criticized by Japanese people as well as foreigners.

In regard to political consequences of the earthquake there is an opinion that weakness of one country is always useful for another country. There are different opinions on this matter, and all of them should be taken into account. There is also an opinion that weakening of one of the most developed countries in the world is dangerous and may lead to the Third World War, which is going to be the last one. The reason is simple: the economic destruction of a world leader causes deepening of world crisis. And in this case, the war for world’s economic and political leadership is inevitable.

In February of 2012 Japanese government established a public security law in order to have control over information on nuclear accidents. This will prevent citizens from measuring radiation and let the Japanese government conceal information about the radiation. The fact that the majority of Japanese people do not believe the governmental information on radiation leads to weakening of relations between the government and common people.

The evacuation in the territory that suffered from tsunami was organized in schools and other public places, where there were thousands of people. Later some people left the place of evacuation and went to relatives or moved to another region. The streets after destruction created a tragic image: the damaged cars, dead people and a horrible stench everywhere. In the destructed regions there have been evacuated over 500 thousand people (Watts 27). The infrastructure has been damaged. There was no electricity, gas or water. There were not enough products and warm clothes in the places of evacuation, but the political authorities could do nothing about it. People were suffering from cold and couldn’t sleep well.

Soon after the disaster, the Japanese government stated that they are ready to accept foreign assistance. Japan asked Russia to increase the energy supply coil and gas. Due to the disaster on Nuclear Power Station Fukushima-1 Japan needed more supplies of fuel materials. Besides, the Japanese Cabinet of Ministers provided 30 milliard Ien for reconstructive works.

The research analyzed the major economic, social and political consequences for Japanese people after the Great Earthquake of 2011. Earthquakes tend to occur unexpectedly, which makes people behave carelessly (Powell 133). However, Japanese people got used to frequent earthquakes and have all means to protect themselves from the consequences. Japanese people learnt to behave confidently in such situations and they proved their confidence during the earthquake of 2011. It can be also proved by immediate measures taken by the government of Japan. 

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