Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Crude Oil and Water: How Climate Change is Threatening our Two Most Precious Commodities - Richard_Mills
2.The Potential $54 Trillion Cost Of The Fed's Planned Interest Rate Increases - Dan_Amerman
3.Best Cash ISA Savings for Rising UK Interest Rates and High Inflation - March 2018 - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Fed Interest Hikes, US Dollar, and Gold - Zeal_LLC
5.What Happens Next after February’s Stock Market Selloff - Troy_Bombardia
6.The 'Beast from the East' UK Extreme Snow Weather - Sheffield Day 2 - N_Walayat
7.Currencies Will Be ‘Flushed Down the Toilet’ Triggering a ‘Mad Rush into Gold’ - MoneyMetals
8.Significant Decline In Stocks On The Cards! -Enda_Glynn
9.Land Rover Discovery Sport Extreme Driving "Beast from the East" Snow Weather Test - N_Walayat
10.SILVER Large Specualtors Net Short Position 15 Year Anniversary - Clive_Maund
Last 7 days
GDX Gold Mining Stocks Fundamentals - 16th Mar 18
Nationalism, Not the Russians, got Trump Elected - 16th Mar 18
Has Bitcoin Bought It? - 16th Mar 18
Crude Oil Price – Who Wants the Triangle? - 16th Mar 18
PayPal Cease Trading Crypto Currency Bitcoin Warning Email Sophisticated Fake Scam? - 16th Mar 18
EUR/USD – Something Old, Something New and… Something Blue - 16th Mar 18
DasCoin: A 5-Minute Guide to How It Works - 15th Mar 18
Stock Market Downward Pressure Mounting - 15th Mar 18
The Stock Market Trend is Your Friend ’til the Very End - 15th Mar 18
6 Easy Ways to Get What Women Want, for Less! - 15th Mar 18
This Isn’t Your Grandfather’s (1960s) Inflation Scare - 15th Mar 18
Eye Opening Stock Market Index, Volatility, Charts and Predictions - 15th Mar 18
Gold Cup At Cheltenham – Gold Is For Winners, Not For Gamblers - 15th Mar 18
Upcoming Turnaround in Gold - 14th Mar 18
Will the Stock Market Make Another Correction this Year? - 14th Mar 18
4 Ways To Writing An Interesting Education Research Paper - 14th Mar 18
China Toward Sustainable Economic Growth - 14th Mar 18
Stock Market Direction Is No Longer Important - 14th Mar 18
Trade Tariffs Defeat Globalists and Return Prosperity - 14th Mar 18
Stock Market Crash is Underway and Cannot be Stopped! - 14th Mar 18
Are Energy Sector Stocks Bottoming? - 14th Mar 18
Nasdaq Stocks Soars to New Record High After Strong Job Reports - 14th Mar 18
Bitcoin BTCUSD Elliott Wave View Calling for Rally toward $15,000 - 13th Mar 18
Hungary’s Gold Repatriation Adds To Growing Protest Against US Dollar Hegemony - 13th Mar 18
Record Low Volatility in Precious Metals and What it Means - 13th Mar 18
Tips for Writing and Assembling the Classification Essay - 13th Mar 18
Gerald Celente "If Rates go up too High, the Economy goes Down, End of Story" - 13th Mar 18
Stock Market Selloff Showed Gold Can Reduce Portfolio Risk  - 13th Mar 18
Silver Does it Again! Severe Consequences - 12th Mar 18
Has the Stock Market Rally Run Out of Steam? - 12th Mar 18
S&P 500 at 2,800 Again, Stock Market Breakout or Fakeout? - 12th Mar 18
The No.1 Energy Stock To Buy Right Now - 12th Mar 18
What Happens Next When Stock Market Investor Sentiment is Neutral - 12th Mar 18
Economic Pressures To Driving Gold and Silver Prices Higher Long-Term - 12th Mar 18
Labour Sheffield City Councils Secret Plan to Fell 50% of Street Trees Exposed! - 12th Mar 18
Stock Market Uptrend Resuming? - 11th Mar 18
Bond Market Interest Rate Yields Are Rising Again… Stocks Are on Thin Ice - 11th Mar 18
Death of Europe's Greenest City, Police State Sheffield Labour Council to Fell 50% of Street Trees - 11th Mar 18
Do All Bull Stocks Markets Need to Have a Bearish Divergence? - 11th Mar 18
An Inflation Indicator to Watch, Part 3 - 11th Mar 18
Online Stock Trading Tips - Tips about Online Trading & Day Trading - 11th Mar 18
NDX makes a new high. What does that mean? - 10th Mar 18
Blue Chip Companies on Track for $800 billion Buyback Record in 2018 - 10th Mar 18
Cheap Gold Stocks Basing - 10th Mar 18
An Introduction to Online Forex Trading - 10th Mar 18
Sheffield Police State as Tree Protesting Citizens Are Snatched off the Streets! - 9th Mar 18
Riding the Bitcoin Wave - 9th Mar 18
Are We in Late Cycle? Implications for Gold - 9th Mar 18
US Bond Market 3 Amigos Bottom Line - 9th Mar 18
The Stock Market Bubble Conversation - 9th Mar 18
The Last Great Myth of Every Financial Market Euphoria - 9th Mar 18
London Property Market Sees Brave Bet By Norway As Foxtons Profits Plunge - 8th Mar 18
Casino and Bingo - A Brief Statistics - 8th Mar 18
Stock Market Shrugs Off Trade War Fears, But Will It Go Higher? - 8th Mar 18
Gold Stocks & Silver Oversold but Not Gold Price - 8th Mar 18
Benefits of Using Same Day Loans In Emergencies - 8th Mar 18
Permanent Life Insurance: Is it a Waste of Money or a Valuable Investment? - 8th Mar 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Urgent Stock Market Message

The Insidious Economic Effects of Japan's Nuclear Disaster

Economics / Global Economy Mar 23, 2011 - 11:30 AM GMT

By: John_Browne


While the world's attention has been focused on the physical destruction wrought by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the desperate attempts to contain the fallout from the shattered Fukushima Daiichi plant, and the daunting problems that Japan faces in rebuilding its infrastructure, few have truly illustrated how long-lasting and widespread the radiation's effects may be. There has also been little mention of how large radiological events affect economies of countries outside the immediate fallout zone. In truth, the disaster could make as much of an impact on investors in New York, London, or Sao Paolo as it makes on an investor in Tokyo.

The world's most significant nuclear accident occurred 25 years ago at Chernobyl, Ukraine. Although its effects are now well-documented, many forget how thoroughly the damage was covered up at the time. To avoid panic, the Soviet authorities grossly downplayed the risks to those living near the plant, as well as those who lived hundreds, and even thousands, of miles away. In the months that followed, high levels of radiation were detected as far away as Scotland!

While we can hope that the present-day Japanese are more prone to candor than the Cold War-era Soviets, a series of botched and contradictory communications from Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of the plant, and the Japanese government have given us reasons to worry.

As higher levels of radiation are found in Japanese fish and vegetables, there is a growing suspicion that the full effects of the radioactive release have been downplayed to the public. It is becoming increasingly impossible to keep the concern from spreading beyond the islands of Japan. Pacific fishing companies and mainland Asian agricultural concerns are under heavy scrutiny.

The accident will inevitably alter long-term energy planning around the world. The growing political traction that nuclear power has gathered over the last decade or so, as the price of fossil fuels has climbed, may be irrevocably damaged. With so-called "green" energy unable to replace the wattage that will be lost by a waning nuclear sector, look for the traditional fossil fuels to fill the breach. But the effects of Japan's nuclear accident go beyond health and energy policy.

After the EU, US, and China, Japan has the fourth largest economy in the world. Japanese industry provides many of the high-tech systems that are essential for producing relatively low-tech products such as automobiles. Already the US computer industry is being affected by shortages of vital parts manufactured in Japan.

But the financial fallout from the crisis looms even larger than the health, energy, or industrial issues. The Japanese people are stoic, disciplined, and very hardworking. Recovery in Japan is likely to be faster than many expect. However, in order to repair the flood, quake, and nuclear damage, Japan will likely need to spend trillions of dollars (hundreds of trillions of yen). This is the crisis that may sink the developed world.

For decades, Japan has deeply indebted itself through central banking strategies pioneered by America and Europe. Faced with successively deeper recessions, it has prevented industrial restructuring by funding industrial failure. By reducing interest rates to near zero and boosting government spending, Japanese governments have progressively transferred the unserviceable debts of the country's private sector to the public ledger. The result is that Japan's debt, currently standing above 200 percent of GDP, is heading for 300 percent by 2020, or some 20 times its tax revenues. Facing such statistics, the rating agencies have placed Japan on "credit watch." This leaves Japan with few options for raising the money to repair its industry and infrastructure.

If the Japanese start to draw on their national savings by selling part of their $882 billion of US Treasuries, they risk igniting a dollar-selling stampede and a damaging spike in US interest rates. To avoid this, it is highly likely that Japan will yield to American pressure not to sell any of its Treasury holdings. It is likely Japan has already been assured covertly, by the Fed and other G-7 central banks, of massive currency swap arrangements to come. This technique would allow for a more orderly repatriation of funds but would send many confusing signals into the financial markets - and lead inevitably to dangerous speculations.

For a world awash in debt, the Japanese destruction comes at an inopportune time. Unfortunately, authorities on both sides of the Pacific are as dishonest about these debt problems as Tokyo Electric Power has been about the severity of the crisis at Fukushima Daiichi.

Subscribe to Euro Pacific's Weekly Digest: Receive all commentaries by Peter Schiff, Michael Pento, and John Browne delivered to your inbox every Monday.

By John Browne
Euro Pacific Capital

More importantly make sure to protect your wealth and preserve your purchasing power before it's too late. Discover the best way to buy gold at , download my free research report on the powerful case for investing in foreign equities available at , and subscribe to my free, on-line investment newsletter at

John Browne is the Senior Market Strategist for Euro Pacific Capital, Inc.  Mr. Brown is a distinguished former member of Britain's Parliament who served on the Treasury Select Committee, as Chairman of the Conservative Small Business Committee, and as a close associate of then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Among his many notable assignments, John served as a principal advisor to Mrs. Thatcher's government on issues related to the Soviet Union, and was the first to convince Thatcher of the growing stature of then Agriculture Minister Mikhail Gorbachev. As a partial result of Brown's advocacy, Thatcher famously pronounced that Gorbachev was a man the West "could do business with."  A graduate of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Britain's version of West Point and retired British army major, John served as a pilot, parachutist, and communications specialist in the elite Grenadiers of the Royal Guard.

John_Browne Archive

© 2005-2018 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules