Japan puts property damage from earthquake at $210 billion

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The Japanese Cabinet office has released an estimate this morning for the economic property losses caused by the 11th March earthquake and tsunami disaster. They estimate that the quake and tsunami destroyed buildings and infrastructure worth around $210 billion. The estimate excludes any costs related to the Fukushima nuclear disaster aside from damage to the facility itself.

The figure is in line with, although at the lower end of, estimates released by risk modellers just after the disaster (such as this estimate from RMS). So this is in line with the insured loss estimates that were made shortly after as well.

The $210 billion figure also excludes all costs for compensation to disaster victims and those evacuated from the destroyed coastal areas and costs related to loss of production, demand surge and other hard to calculate items. The actual economic impact to the country of Japan and the world through supply chain issues and contingent business interruption will likely never be fully understood.

The figure far exceeds the $120 billion in economic losses caused by the Hanshin earthquake in Kobe, Japan in 1995. The whole of 2010 saw a reported $218 billion in economic losses from natural and man-made disasters according to Swiss Re.

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