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Euromoney Country Risk

Bond Outlook by bridport & cie, March 16 2011

The Japanese people have a remarkable capacity to rebuild their country after disaster. Consider the medium-term impact of the current tragedy; it is not all negative.

Bond Outlook

Despite their terrible suffering, the Japanese people have historically proven themselves able to recover and rebuild after disasters, and indeed to go on to reach renewed heights of economic prosperity. Thus it was after the WW2 and the Kobe earthquake, and thus it will be after the latest tragedy.


For years, the West has been asking Japan to consume more of both their own, and imported, goods. That request is about to be met in an unexpected way, but Instead of rice and whisky (two areas protected against imports) there will be a surge in the consumption of construction materials and equipment. Reconstruction will be much less costly than the global financial crisis, but, more importantly, it will be qualitatively different. The financial crisis wiped out paper wealth – real enough to those who lost it, but involving very little depletion of physical assets. The Japanese destruction is of physical assets, and they have to be replaced.


The Japanese private sector will have to dispose of foreign assets and repatriate the yen, but these funds will be recycled into purchases of foreign goods and equipment.

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