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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
September 15, 2016

Disaster, Law and Justice in Japan: In the Tsunami of Debt and Lost Homes

The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 unleashed unprecedented tremors and a devastating tsunami, damaging one million buildings and rendering 300,000 victims displaced and dispossessed. Former home-owners and businesspeople found themselves in the position of seeking loans to rebuild and invest, while being unable to pay off pre-disaster mortgages and debts.

Largely unnoticed outside of Japan, this so-called “double-loan crisis” promoted private and corporate insolvency, threatening financial institutions, jeopardising disaster recovery and entrenching social inequality. Treating issues of property insurance, debtor-creditor, social welfare, charity, financial and insolvency law, this paper examines the situation of the tsunami victims from a legal perspective.