The Japanese Export Model Has Experienced Another Blow

The Japanese export model has just experienced another major blow.  In the following case, it was used cars being shipped to Russia.

VLADIKAVKAZ, April 14 (Itar-Tass) – Some 49 cars from Japan with excess radiation were stopped at the Far Eastern customs checkpoints for the last few weeks. The radiation level was exceeded from 2.3 to six times, the Far Eastern customs service in Vladivostok told a press conference on Thursday. Meanwhile, the radionuclide contamination traces were spotted on several cars.

All radiation contaminated cars were brought to special boxes. The Russian customs watchdog will decide on further use of these cars.


While on the surface this event only affected 49 automobiles, it points to a much larger problem.  Radioactivity is invisible, and while a product appears to be safe, if it has been contaminated it is damaged goods.

Customs officials stopped 49 cars with radiation levels up to six times above normal, while some vehicles had traces of the radioactive isotopes caesium-127 and uranium-238, said Roman Famin, who heads the regional customs’ radiation monitoring department.


In the future, Japanese products will have to undergo extreme levels of product safety inspections.  The radiation is not biased in what it infects.  That is, it could be from a sub assembly part shipped out of the area, or it could be from airborne fallout contaminating a shipping container for example.

The reality is that Japan is going to experience both a long term drop in tourism, but also a long term drop in the public ownership of Japanese produced products.  There will be a long term stigma to the events of March 11th, which have not been baked into the global supply chain yet. Customer choices is one that has not been touched on yet, but lets be honest.  Do you want to buy a car that has a real chance of residual radiation? Even if it was only a 1-5% chance?

Over the medium term, I expect to see Japan export its business with employees, to seismically safe locations.  The need for major rolling black outs this summer is going to hit home to the businesses that need a stable supply of electricity.

When you consider the true level of importance of the Kanto region on the Japanese economy, the implications sink in.  The impact to the nation is going to be larger than most expected.  The Kanto region was still an important bread basket for Japan.  In a nutshell, 1 out of 3 Japanese lived in this area.

The very core of the developed Japanese economy is going to need to be relocated over the medium term, as this situation will not be cleaned up or usable again for decades.  The area infected and needing to be quarantined is not finalised, and it is my expectation that when it is finalised, a larger percentage of Japanese population will need to relocated than is currently estimated.

I fully expect that in time, the Japanese employees relocate with their jobs to a new location to live and work.  The irony is that Japan in the future will be exporting both jobs but also people, as the Kanto region is recognised to be unusable for longer than currently is discussed.

Maybe California & Nevada will finally find replacement buyers for their empty subdivisions.