30 Mar 2011

Japanese recovery time hard to pick - expert

7:46 am on 30 March 2011

One of Japan's leading economic experts says there is no way of knowing how long it will take the nation to recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami of 11 March.

Professor Takatoshi Ito, of the Graduate School of Economics at Tokyo University, is questioning the many comments made in recent weeks of a V-shaped comeback for Japan.

He says investment boomed in Japan after previous earthquakes and tsunamis as infrastructure was rebuilt - but the damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant and associated power shortages add to the complexity this time.

Regarding the radiation risk at the plant, he says, "We have no idea how damaging it will be and how long it will take to contain it and remove the radiation scare, so I would be very cautious about any forecast on how the GDP will play out in the next year or two."

Professor Ito says there will be chaos and loss in the manufacturing sector in the next six months, but the sector will find ways to address supply shortages and to ship cars and electronic products as normal.