The 2011 Tohoku, Japan Quake and Tsunami: Provisional Financial Impact Assessment

9 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2011 Last revised: 1 Apr 2011

Date Written: March 28, 2011


The financial aspects of the March 2011 Tohoku, Japan quake and tsunami are explored from a financial risk management perspective. While it is still very early to assess the full picture, some provisional assessment seems appropriate. In particular, one can analyze the normalized transient market impact and learn lessons for financial risk management, and also compare this disaster on a normalized basis with other extreme financial events such as the Kobe earthquake, the 2008 Lehman default, 9/11 and the 'flash crash' event of 2010. Financial markets react quantitatively so such cross-comparisons may be made regardless of the cause. One can also explore some of the immediate commentary on the broader economic impact, and look at the particular consequences for the global insurance, energy and nuclear industries. The impact on the nuclear industry would also benefit from proper quantitative normalization of the risks.

Keywords: Japan, quake, earthquake, tsunami, risk, market impact, Sendai, Honshu, Tohoku, Nikkei

JEL Classification: D81, F31, F32,G231, G28, L94, N25

Suggested Citation

Shaw, William Thornton, The 2011 Tohoku, Japan Quake and Tsunami: Provisional Financial Impact Assessment (March 28, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

William Thornton Shaw (Contact Author)

University College London ( email )

Departments of Mathematics and Computer Science
Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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