Our Thoughts and Prayers are with the People of Japan

The massive March 11th earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan left more than 18, 000 people dead and thousands more are still missing. Close to half a million people have been displaced and the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant has the public’s fear mounting. While the overwhelming cost to human life is of paramount importance, many also worry about how Japan’s economy will be impacted.

The World Bank recently estimated rebuilding from the worst earthquake and tsunami in 300 years may cost the world’s third largest economy upwards of $235 billion Other numbers, many noted in a recent story Economic Impact of Japan’s Quake by Kimberly Amadeo, are staggering.

According to Carl Weinberg, High Frequency Economics, 11 of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors have been shut down. Given that Japan’s nuclear industry supplies a third of the country’s electricity, production will be limited to less than 80% of pre-quake/tsunami potential for a long time.

According to Kyohei Morita and Yuichiro Nagai of Barclays Capital, the quake hit the north-east section of the country, responsible for 6-8% of Japan’s GDP. They figure damages could exceed 15 trillion yen, or 3% of GDP.

With a total of 22 manufacturing plants, including Sony, still closed, the global supply chain of semiconductor equipment and materials will clearly be impacted.

Here are two more numbers to consider: The American Red Cross now lists “Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami” as one of the choices for online donations at the Red Cross. Alternatively, you can make a $10 donation by texting REDCROSS to 90999. Among countless other organizations, UNICEF is also coordinating efforts to help the children of Japan. You can use the form on UNICEF’s website to donate 100 percent of your desired amount to their fund designated for victims of the earthquake. Or you can simply text JAPAN to 864233 to donate $10.

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