San Jose State University

Post-Earthquake Business Recovery:  Learning from Japan’s Experiences

Japan and California have close economic and political ties.  Japan is a major trading partner and many Japanese companies are in California.  A major disaster that impacts one partner will have economic impacts on the other.

Japan has experienced many major earthquakes and has recovered rapidly from everyone.  The SSC wanted to identify economic recovery policies the Japanese have implemented and apply them after major earthquakes in California. The SSC has funded a project with San Jose State University to:

  1. Survey and review post-disaster economic recovery measures, following the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, implemented by Japanese governments (national, prefectural, and local), and where possible assess the extent to which these measures were effective.
  2. Develop and deliver seminars to Japanese companies in northern and southern California to educate them on the earthquake threat in California, including pertinent regulations designed to accelerate economic recovery and limitations to the extent US federal, state and local governments can assist specific businesses.
  3. Develop and implement a survey of Japanese companies to determine their perceptions of needs in a post-earthquake environment to accelerate their recovery. This will serve as the basis for the development of a more broadly applicable business/economic recovery strategy for the State of California.
  4. Complete a final report to the SSC that will identify the most successful economic recovery policies implemented in post-earthquake Japan. Based on the results of this study, the SSC will consider a possible Phase II project that will incorporate existing policy recommendations gathered by the Commission and combine them with those implemented in Japan.  This list could then be circulated among California businesses and industry with a request to identify those that may be most impactful on helping them recover after future major disasters in California.

Major Activities during 2017 included:

  1. Initiated a review of published sources for information in English on post-disaster economic recovery incentives in Japan, especially those following the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.
  2. Established contact with Japan Business Association (JBA) covering Southern California and the Japan Chamber of Commerce of Northern California (JCCNC). Met with representatives of JBA and JCCNC, and the Consul Generals of Japan in San Francisco and in Los Angeles, respectively, and successfully obtained commitment of cooperation and support.
  3. Developed a PowerPoint presentation for Japanese companies in California, to educate them on earthquake risk in California and also California legislation that relates to earthquake safety and earthquake hazard mitigation.  This material was presented to a gathering of JPA members.  JCCNC in the process of arranging a meeting for this presentation.
  4. Held meetings in Japan with national, prefectural and local governments to determine what, if any, incentives they have developed to foster economic recovery and growth.

This project will be completed in mid to late 2018.