Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University

Nippon Steel's facility damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, is seen at a port in Kamaishi. Such damage has impacted the entire global supply chain.
Photo credit: REUTERS/Toru Hanai

July 8, 2011 - Shorenstein APARC News

Since news of the March 11 Great Tohoku Earthquake broke, the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center, which has deep, longstanding ties to Japan, has closely followed and responded to this ongoing situation.

Center responds to Japan's recent challenges, reaffirms ties

“We are still trying to absorb the magnitude and meaning of an earthquake that dwarfed anything seen in Japan—a country that is known for seismic activity—for probably more than a millennium,” said Daniel Sneider, associate director for research at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC), while moderating an April 26 seminar co-sponsored by the School of Earth Sciences and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI).

It is too soon to know the full domestic and global impact of the March 11 Great Tohoku Earthquake and its ensuing tsunami and nuclear accident. Japan is grappling to aid victims, to resolve the danger at the Fukushima nuclear complex, and to move forward with rebuilding amidst political debates and disrupted systems. The global supply chain suffered setbacks of unknown scale, and the disaster-readiness of the world’s other earthquake-prone coastal areas have come under scrutiny. Since news of the earthquake broke, Shorenstein APARC, which has deep, longstanding ties to Japan, has closely followed and responded to this ongoing situation.

During a March 21 CISAC event about the nuclear crisis, Shorenstein APARC director emeritus Daniel Okimoto predicted that Japan would weather the blow to its economy and emerge with a “new sense of national mission.” The next week, Michio Harada, Deputy Counsel General at San Francisco’s Consulate General of Japan, joined a Shorenstein APARC discussion before an overflowing audience of concerned students and interested public on the future of Japan’s energy, economy, and politics. Participants agreed that the disaster could have long-term government and policy impacts and that resolving the nuclear situation was the most immediate concern. Despite the challenges, they predicted that Japan would ultimately recover.

The Nuclear Crisis in Japan Seminar (video)
March 21, 2011

During an April 22–23 conference organized by the center’s Stanford Project on Japanese Entrepreneurship (STAJE), a panel of Japan scholars discussed the implications of the disaster for business and research trends. Takeo Hoshi of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) suggested that the post-disaster redistribution of human capital could potentially accelerate Japan's long-term growth. UCSD scholar and STAJE Academic Advisory Group member Ulrike Schaede offered a detailed analysis of the sometimes hidden but vital place of Japanese firms in the global supply chain and the impact of the earthquake on that role.

Masahiko Aoki, an FSI senior fellow affiliated with Shorenstein APARC, presented at the April 26 seminar moderated by Sneider, the second in a two-day series about the domestic and global impacts of the earthquake. He offered insights into social, economic, and institutional aspects of the March events, noting the element of human error involved in the Fukushima accident. Aoki suggested that the situation presented an opportunity for significant institutional reform in Japan, including a reorganization of the country’s nuclear energy system.

Great Tohoku, Japan Disaster Symposium (video)
April 26, 2011

Above all, Shorenstein APARC believes that Japan will recover, and its connection to its friends, colleagues, and affiliates there remains an important center priority. In addition to frequent telephone and e-mail communication, the center will reconnect in person with a large number of its Japan affiliates in September during the annual Stanford Kyoto Trans-Asian Dialogue.

Media commentary

“Japan earthquake update” (audio)
March 14, 2011
KQED Forum discussion featuring Daniel I. Okimoto

“Quake in Japan shouldn’t hurt U.S. economy” (video)
March 14, 2011
KTVU interview with Robert Eberhart

“Are Japanese news media asking tough questions about nuclear crisis?” (text)
March 16, 2011 article featuring commentary by Daniel C. Sneider

“After the quake: Implications for Japan's political future” (text)
March 18, 2011
National Bureau for Asian Research interview with Daniel C. Sneider

“Ambassador from Silicon Valley negotiates the storm in Japan”
(text no longer available)
March 20, 2011
San Jose Mercury News article with commentary by Daniel C. Sneider

“Japan will rebound, nuclear energy won't diminish, Stanford specialists say” (text)
March 22, 2011
Stanford Report article featuring Daniel I. Okimoto

Topics: Business | Energy | Entrepreneurship | Nuclear Energy | Silicon Valley | Japan