Japan’s earthquake and tsunami disaster will hurt the Australian economy and could result in job losses, a professor says.
The Japanese economy has taken a king hit from Friday’s huge quake and the devastating tsunami it generated.
It’s also facing a nuclear crisis from the severely damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant north of Tokyo.
With Japan one of Australia’s major trading partners, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has not ruled out the possibility of government intervention to protect Australia from economic damage.
Professor Andrew O’Neil, director of the Griffith University’s Asia Institute in Brisbane, said Australia could see job losses as a direct result of Japan’s crisis.
“There will most likely be a collapse in Japanese consumer demand which will affect the longer-term demand for Australian resources,” Prof O’Neil told AAP.
“If the Japanese economy tanks, it could lead to job losses in Australia.
“We export twice as much coal to Japan than we do to China, but we only export a fraction of the amount of iron ore to Japan than we do to China.”
He said Australia had enjoyed a strong trade partnership with a number of Japanese companies since the 1950s, including Toyota and Mazda, and Japanese financial institutions doing business in Australia.
Japan was also a very important trading and financial partner for China and other countries, he said.
“China’s economic growth is slowing as well, so it’s not too hard to see another global financial crisis emerging and it’ll have a very direct impact on industry and jobs in Australia,” Prof O’Neil said.
He said Queensland would be hit the hardest by the economic aftermath of Japan’s disasters.
“I think of all states in this country that could take a great hit from this is Queensland, as coal is its greatest export, as well as tourism,” Prof O’Neil said.