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Fiscal burden: Japan can rise from ashes

Last updated on: March 14, 2011 13:50 IST

Fiscal burden: Japan can rise from ashes

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The massive earthquake that logged 8.9 on the Richter scale, and the tsunami that struck northeastern Japan, have wrecked enormous havoc on Japan taking a huge toll in terms of life and property.

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Image: Employees of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) work at the bourse in Tokyo.
Photographs: Issei Kato/Reuters.
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Fiscal burden: Japan can rise from ashes

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Worse, the misery heaped by nature has been made worse by human failing with a nuclear power plant being impacted by the quake and leaking radiation into the atmosphere.

Japan will take a long time to recover from the destruction and the psychological impact of human failure.

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Image: Workers walk past a damaged shipyard in an area hit by an earthquake and tsunami in Kuji.
Photographs: Aly Song/Reuters.
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Fiscal burden: Japan can rise from ashes

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For a nation that takes great pride, and justifiably so, in its technological competence and organisational capability, the tragedy of the nuclear accident would be felt as deeply as that caused by nature.

While the nuclear accident is a tragedy, global response to it should be one of learning lessons and not debunking nuclear energy.

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Image: People queue to be screened by a technician in protective gear for signs of possible radiation.
Photographs: Yuriko Nakao/Reuters.
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Fiscal burden: Japan can rise from ashes

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Japan has no other equally important source of power and so cannot run away from nuclear power. But it has the ability to learn and improve technology.

The economic consequences of the quake and the tsunami will be felt for some time, even if they are not altogether debilitating.

It has been reported that the most important industrial and agricultural regions of Japan have not been seriously impacted, either by the quake or the tsunami.

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Image: A mother tries to talk to her daughter who has been isolated for signs of radiation.
Photographs: Yuriko Nakao/Reuters.
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Fiscal burden: Japan can rise from ashes

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Some analysts speculate that a repatriation of capital from overseas, both for security and reconstruction, may drive the Yen up rather than down.

This, along with the disruption caused to shipping activity could hurt Japan's exports.

The enormous reconstruction work will impose a fiscal burden that Japan can bear, provided the government is able to tap into private savings.

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Image: An evacuee receives food from government officers in an aisle at an evacuation centre in Sendai.
Photographs: Jo Yong-Hak/Reuters.
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Fiscal burden: Japan can rise from ashes

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Moments like these, where there is national grief, enable governments to raise the required fiscal resources and the global community has said it will also step in to help.

In the medium term, the reconstruction activity would generate economic activity that could more than compensate for the loss caused by the quake and the tsunami. Domestic demand-based growth can help Japan revive its economy.

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Image: An injured girl is brought to a Japanese Red Cross hospital.
Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters.
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Fiscal burden: Japan can rise from ashes

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However, any disruption in export trade runs the risk of Japan yielding space in global markets to rivals like Korea and China.

The entire world has come together to express its sympathy and extend help and support to Japan.

This is a testimony to the affection the global community has for a people that have, within living memory, risen Phoenix like from the ashes and built one of the world's most successful economies and talented nations.

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Image: A woman is rescued from a flooded area by Japan Self Defense Forces troops.
Photographs: Reuters.
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The people of Japan have demonstrated before their enormous will and resilience in rebuilding what has been destroyed and creating new life out of virtually nothing.

For its part, India must work closely with the people and government of Japan to help them overcome this tragedy and rebuild their lives.

Japan is an invaluable friend and partner of India, and the government and people of India, including Indian business, must step forward to help and do all that is possible and useful.

The sun will shine again on this land and this great nation.


Image: People walk in front of a tuna fishing boat tossed on to land in Kesennuma City.
Photographs: Reuters.
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