Quake cost estimated up to $310B

March 23, 2011 at 8:41 AM
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TOKYO, March 23 (UPI) -- The earthquake-tsunami crisis caused up to $310 billion in economic cost in the seven worst-hit prefectures, a preliminary Japanese government estimate said.

The government Wednesday also warned about the disaster's negative impact on the country's export and industrial output recovery, the Kyodo news service reported.

The economic loss estimate ranged from 16 trillion yen or $198 billion to 25 trillion yen or about $310 billion, resulting from the destruction of social infrastructure, housing and corporate facilities in the regions worst-hit by the March 11 disaster in northeast Japan, the government said.

Those losses could bring down Japan's growth rate by 0.5 percent, the government said, while warning the actual result may be worse as the current estimate did not take into account any negative effect from power supply shortages resulting from the damage at the nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

However, the government also noted the economic pressures could be offset to some extent by reconstruction work which would boost domestic demand.

"We provided the number based on data available so far, and cannot help having certain ranges in our estimate," Economic and Fiscal Policy minister Kaoru Yosano told reporters.

Earlier this week, the World Bank estimated the economic cost of the disaster may reach up to $235 billion. The country's recovery was expected to pick up in the fourth quarter.

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