The Other Tsunami -- worldwide economic pain
japanese nuclear reactor by bradblog
The world changed dramatically on March 11, 2011. One of the biggest tremors to rock the Earth over the past 200 years has brought the third largest economy on the planet to its knees. Mother Nature's one-two punch has demonstrated once again that humans may be at the top of the food chain, but they are only the bridesmaid to the planet. Ol' Mom Nature has decided to put us runts in our place.
Japan not only suffered one of the worst earthquakes in recorded history, but they also suffered one of the worst tsunami disasters as well. And now we are learning that the hallowed sanctity of nuclear reactors has become not only mortal, but deadly. Where the calamity of the Chernobyl held sway anon as the epitome of nuclear disasters, Japan undoubtedly will muster a challenge and quite likely, take over that unfortunate title.
But we are just at the beginning of the next level of tsunamic pain in this tragedy. According to reuters as of 9:00 am GMT on Friday, March 18, 2011, "Toyota Motor Co has halted operations at its 12 main assembly plants in Japan. Honda Motor Co is extending the production halt in Japan to Wednesday (March 23) from March 20. Nissan Motor Co said output has been stopped at three of its four car assembly factories in Japan. Mazda Motor Corp said it plans to suspend production at two plants in southwestern Japan until Sunday (March 20), but has not yet decided how to proceed after that." Fuji Heavy Industries Co. have shut down all their Northern Subaru-related parts plants,. Sony can barely open one plant. Toshiba, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic and Renesas have closed manufacturing plants.
These are not two-bit players on the global stage. These are powerhouses.
And already, Hawaii is suffering from the first tsunami. According to acanadianbusiness.com headline recently, "Financially hobbled Hawaii bracing for downturn of Japanese travellers after deadly earthquake." Japan has integrated itself into the fabric of the world economy quite nicely. In fact, it was only outdone by the US until recently when China muscled through.
Japan's industry has been devastated by these events, there's no denying it. Look at the stock market indices around the world since the quake for the ripple effect of that one. But the effect is much more than the simple loss of personal monetary value, though property and personal wealth is indeed tragic. We're talking about major sections of world industries.
According to Wikipedia:
Sony is the world's fifth largest media conglomerate with US$77.20 billion (FY2010)
Toshiba-made Semiconductors are among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders.
Toyota is the world's largest automobile manufacturer by sales and production.
Honda has been the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959, as well as the world's largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines measured by volume, producing more than 14 million internal combustion engines each year. Honda surpassed Nissan in 2001 to become the second-largest Japanese automobile manufacturer.
Nikon's products include cameras, binoculars, microscopes, measurement instruments, and the steppers used in the photolithography steps of semiconductor fabrication, of which it is the world's second largest manufacturer.
Panasonic, since its founding in 1918, has grown to become the largest Japanese electronics producer.
The companies of Japan have to regroup and rethink their global strategy in light of this devastating blow that Mother Nature has delivered unto their doorstep. Their ability to mass produce on a global level has been destroyed. It will be decades before the Japanese economy will fully recover, if it ever gets a second chance.
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