Power cuts are now the greatest threat to Japan's economic recovery, the Asian Development Bank's top economist said Thursday, as the pain from the disaster showed few signs of relenting. After initial concerns that the disaster would wreck Japanese and global manufacturing supply chains, Changyong Rhee said the main fear had become a prolonged power cuts and brownouts.
Power cuts "can hurt not just the affected area, but the whole of Japan," Rhee said, pointing to disruptions that could hobble the economy for months to come. "Initially, we thought that power supply would be normalized by the end of April; it looks like it is going to be a bit longer than that." Power shortages have plagued the country since the quake, which caused 11 of Japan's 55 nuclear reactors to be at least temporarily closed.
More than a month after a devastating 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit the country, Rhee and other economists are still trying to understand the long-term impact on the world's third largest economy and its neighbors. The biggest question mark might now be the fate of those 11 nuclear power plants, which account for around six percent of the country's electricity production. (AFP)