The Japanese share market has fallen more than 3 percent after a series of earthquakes measuring up to 7.3 magnitude struck a southern manufacturing hub, killing at least 42 people and forcing major companies to close factories. Ivor Bennett reports.
The scale of the damage is staggering. A landscape torn apart in a country that was already bearing serious fault lines. SOUNDBITE (English) BGC PARTNERS, MARKET ANALYST, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "It's like kicking somebody when they're on the ground and already bleeding from the ears really. I mean the economy is looking extremely wobbly. There was talk even before the earthquakes of a fiscal package being put in place by the government. I think that is almost a certainty now." The deadly earthquakes hit one of Japan's major manufacturing hubs. This factory - a crucial cog in Toyota's supply chain - one of several now shut as workers assess the damage. Supply chains of Honda and Sony also disrupted. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) CEBR, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER, VICKY PRYCE, SAYING: "Production has been closed or induced in a number of major areas in the economy, whether we're talking about cars or electronic. And of course there could be more closures coming because people are quite concerned about aftershocks and so on." That's sent seismic shocks rippling through markets too. The Nikkei falling more than 3 percent, with Sony - another with a disrupted supply chain - leading the losses. Japan isn't the only tremor shaking investors. Falling oil prices and the impeachment vote in Brazil adding to a perfect storm. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) CEBR, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER, VICKY PRYCE, SAYING: "The worrying thing has been so far that every focus we've seen from any of the large organisations, but also private forecasts, they have been more pessimistic each time that they have been revised." The victims of the earthquakes were honoured by Japan's parliament. Its leaders now hoping the 3 and a quarter billion dollars they've committed to shoring up the economy will be enough.