A BBC news article on Sept. 21, 2011 cites a World Bank report about the duration of recovery in Japan:
According to the World Bank, Japan may need up to five years to rebuild from the disastrous earthquake and tsunami that has caused up to $235bn (£145bn) of damage, the World Bank said in a report.
It also estimates that 0.5 percentage points will be shaved from the country’s economic growth this year. However, it expects growth to pick up again in the second half of the year. The 11 March earthquake and tsunami, disrupted production networks in the automotive and electronic industries.
“Damage to housing and infrastructure has been unprecedented,” the World Bank said. “Growth should pick up through subsequent quarters as reconstruction efforts, which could last five years, accelerate,” it said. The bank estimates the damage to be between $123bn and $235bn. This is the equivalent of between 2.5% and 4% of the country’s economic output in 2010.
The World Bank stressed that it was too early to accurately assess the cost of the damage, but said it was likely to be greater than the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Potential costs of the disaster
March quake and tsunami Kobe earthquake 1995
I agree with the comment from Bill Cumming (noted below) that the time estimate seems understated, and that the response is likely to take decades. I have no ability to estimate costs, but it the duration of the recovery is understated chances are the costs are too.
One more thing: For those of you who are closely tracking the recovery process in Japan, I have uploaded the full text (43 pp) in English of the JAPAN_basic_guidelines_reconstruction_here. The source is Reconstruction Headquarters in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake, a special operational unit of the Cabinet Secretariat.
Many thanks to fellow blogger Phil Palin for providing this information.