The Effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Policy Priorities for Restoring Economic Growth: Evidence from a survey of Japanese firms

Author Name MORIKAWA Masayuki  (Vice Chairman & Vice President, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. May 2012 12-P-010
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This paper reports results from an original survey of Japanese firms on the effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake on their operations, the countermeasures taken by the affected firms, and the desired policies to restore economic growth. A large number of Japanese firms are affected from the disruption of supply chains. The majority of them are taking measures such as multiplying procurement sources. Rolling blackouts and regulation of electricity usage after the disaster have directly or indirectly affected the firms' operation. Firms' support for the use of price mechanism to reduce electricity demand in the case of electricity supply shortages is very limited, but there is suggestive evidence from the survey that raising electricity prices is an effective measure to reduce demand. Policies for restoring economic growth expected by the firms include stabilization of government debt, reduction of corporate tax, stable supply of electricity, and control of increasing social security contributions. All of these measures are supported by more than 40% of the firms. These results indicate that under the increase in government expenditure for reconstruction from the disaster, anxiety for the sustainability of government debt is serious among firms, and that the increasing social security contribution is a heavy burden for them.