Could Japan lead global economy out of turmoil?

Heavy machinery removes rubble from the tsunami-devastated town of Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture on May 9, 2011.

JEREMY HOBSON: It has been a little more than five months since the earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan and devastated the industrial northern part of the country.Well this morning, we got some evidence that Japanese manufacturers are recovering strongly. That's sending stocks higher around the world on hopes that Asia may help the global economic recovery despite the last week of turbulence.

The BBC's Roland Buerk reports from Tokyo.


ROLAND BUERK: The post-tsunami recession in Japan may be ending earlier than many had expected. According to key government statistics out today, the Japanese economy contracted at a far slower pace than before -- meaning the march towards expansion and growth is coming.

And that's cheering investors across Asia. Even though hundreds of factories across Japan were destroyed in the earthquake and tsunami in March, manufacturing is recovering. Japan's economics minister, Kaoru Yosano, is upbeat -- but restrained.

KAORU YOSANO: With the increasing investment in public projects relating to reconstruction, we believe that the economy is slowly getting back on its feet.

There are still factors that could throw Japan's economy off track.

Power shortages amid the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant

And the strength of the Yen -- a stronger yen means Japanese-made TVs and electronics are more expensive to sell elsewhere -- and that means fewer TVs and electronics will be sold.

One way Japan may adapt to that -- a survey of major companies has shown more than half are considering moving some offices or factories abroad.

In Tokyo, I'm the BBC's Roland Buerk for Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...