Recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake
The infrastructure such as roads and rivers is almost restored in Tohoku region except for coastal areas which were immensely damaged by tsunami. Debris disposal work reportedly will finish in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures no later than the end of this month. Meanwhile, some 260,000 people still live in temporary housing units, as a consensus has not been reached about issues such as relocations to higher ground. Since it is already the latter part of the intensive reconstruction period, housing building should be accelerated.
Keidanren will continue to cooperate further in terms of dispatching personnel to the Reconstruction Agency and afflicted local governments, as well as promoting consumption of products from disaster-stricken areas. It is encouraging that some advanced efforts in the agricultural sector, such as large-scale farming, have started in farmlands damaged by tsunami. We will keep in contact with the afflicted local governments to support their restoration efforts.
Downward revision of real GDP growth rate for the October-December quarter
I am not worried about the downward revision of the real GDP growth rate to 0.7% because the Cabinet Office sees the potential growth rate as about 0.7% as well. In fact, the continuously improving GDP gap proves Japan's strong steps toward departure from the deflationary spiral. The Japanese economy is projected to achieve higher growth in the January-March quarter due to a last-minute surge in demand before the April consumption tax hike, to be followed by a backlash to end in negative growth in the April-June quarter. In that case, however, economic stimulus measures to realize a "positive cycle of the economy" will support the nation's economy.