Japan's 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami: Economic Effects and Implications for the United States [June 8, 2011] [open pdf - 670KB]
"The March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan followed by the nuclear crisis are having a large negative impact on the economy of Japan but a lesser effect on world trade and financial markets. Japan has lost considerable physical and human capital. Physical damage has been estimated to be from $195 billion to as much as $305 billion. (Greece's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $330 billion.) In excess of 23,000 persons in Japan are killed or missing, and more than 400,000 homes and other buildings have been totally or partially damaged. The negative effects of the earthquake and tsunami have been compounded by the continuing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear reactors; the resulting evacuations, radioactive contamination, and shortages of electricity; continuing aftershocks; and the extensive damage to infrastructure, homes, manufacturing plants, and other buildings. […] There also is concern over speculation in currency markets and repatriation of assets back to Japan that raised the value of the yen before the G-7 monetary authorities in March intervened to weaken it. Another concern is that Japan's national debt, already at 200% of GDP, will rise significantly as the government borrows to finance reconstruction. This may raise interest rates in Japan and further complicate recovery efforts or, in the worst case, trigger a sovereign debt crisis and loss of confidence in Japanese government bonds."
CRS Report for Congress, R41702