Posts by Yuzo Ono - Tokyo

Anxiety only one reason why Japanese shelves were bare after the disaster

Products such as bottled water, instant noodles and batteries all but disappeared from supermarket shelves across Tokyo after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and a lot of people (myself included) believed anxiety was causing the run on certain goods. But a survey by the newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun showed that in reality, the fault may be down to Japan’s retail distribution system: Only 17 percent of respondents said they were purchasing with the intent to have backup supplies. Factories keep their stock levels low, so when they shut down after the quake, products ran out almost immediately. On top of this, many products were diverted to the disaster areas.

In terms of Japan’s retail system, the efficiency that is so highly valued under normal circumstances backfired in the face of such a large-scale disaster. For manufacturers, creating contingency plans in alignment with the government and publicizing this may be one way to prevent a recurrence of excessive anxiety and stocking-up behavior during the recovery process.

Photo Credit: robertstinnett

震災後の品薄の原因

大野裕三 – 東京

東日本大震災の発生後に首都圏のスーパーやコンビニから水・カップ麺・乾電池等の商品が消えた原因として消費者の「不安」が考えられていたが、日本経済新聞の調査によると、買いだめをしたと答えたのは全体のわずか17%であり、品薄状況のもう一つの原因として流通システムが挙げられている。現在の日本の流通は出来る限り在庫を持たない体制をとっているため、工場が休止すると途端に物流が途絶えてしまう。そこへ、物資が被災地に優先的に回されるという背景が重なり、今回のような店頭での品薄状況が生まれたと言える。

平常時であれば効率性が高いと評価されていたシステムが、今回は裏目に出てしまった。今後は企業と政府が連携して対応策を講じ、それを公表することにより、消費者の「不安」と「買いだめ」を未然に防ぐことが出来るのかもしれない。