Crisis Boosts Demand For Some Japanese Companies Some companies are doing a brisk business following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Those kept busy by the calamity include an excavation equipment manufacturer and a used car salesman.
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Crisis Boosts Demand For Some Japanese Companies

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Crisis Boosts Demand For Some Japanese Companies

Crisis Boosts Demand For Some Japanese Companies

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michele Norris.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

NPR's John Burnett introduces us to some of those businesses.

JOHN BURNETT: One of the busiest companies in northern Japan these days is Okada Aiyon. They manufacture the steel jaws attached to diesel excavators that are removing debris and looking for bodies up and down the coast.

NOBORU TAKAHASHI: (Foreign language spoken)

BURNETT: In the shop, mechanics prepare the iron grapples, as they're called, for shipping. Though the company's stock has taken off in the past three weeks, Takahashi says he's putting in long hours because his country needs him in this time of crisis.

TAKAHASHI: (Foreign language spoken)

BURNETT: When the sea roared inland, it swept up thousands of cars. And when the wave retreated, it cast them off like so many crushed beer cans. Naoki Sugawara stands in his used car lot in Morioka beside a sold out sign. He says these days, 80 percent of his customers are coming from the coast to replace their smashed vehicles.

NAOKI SUGAWARA: (Through translator) Before the earthquake, it was mostly young people who were starting a new job and wanted to buy a cool car. After the quake, I'm selling lots of inexpensive mini-trucks that can haul cargo, the kind of trucks the fishermen lost.

BURNETT: Minoru Okada is chief of the Morioka office.

MINORU OKADA: (Through translator) The other day, our stock price rose by 70,000 yen before buying was stopped because the climb was too fast. If you ask me, I think they're overvaluing our company.

BURNETT: Stefan Lippert, a business professor at Temple University's Japan campus, says after the 1995 Kobe earthquake, there was never any question that that important city had to be rebuilt. But that's not the case with the lightly populated northeastern coast.

STEFAN LIPPERT: We do not know at the moment which city or which village actually will be rebuilt and who's going to pay for that and to what extent it will be rebuilt.

BURNETT: Unidentified Man: (Foreign language spoken)

BURNETT: John Burnett, NPR News in northern Japan.

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