Empirical case study of the impact of the East Japan disaster on the production and logistics of a small-medium containerboard manufacturer in Fukushima Prefecture


We evaluated the impact of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant explosion (i.e., “the East Japan disaster”) on a 100-employee containerboard manufacturer’s production and truck logistics systems in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. We first estimated the Cobb-Douglas production function to evaluate the changes from pre- to post-disaster using monthly time-series data from January 2010 to December 2012 (35 months), and we found that there were few structural changes in the input ratio in the company’s production system. We then used statistical methods to assess the changes in the flow of cargo from the firm to devastated and non-devastated destinations. We found that the disaster affected the cargo flow only to the coast areas that were devastated by the tsunami and/or contaminated by radioactivity. Since the demand for containerboards is a “derived demand” of agriculture and relatively light industries, our findings indicate that these industries have been all safe after the disaster, and the disaster’s effects have been overemphasized.

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