Poor Japan. With the list of dead and missing growing following a massive earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident, it will be a long time before that country is truly well again.
And the natural disaster is only the latest test for the Land of the Rising Sun; Toyota, the top auto manufacturer in the world, was only starting to recover from the impact of a series of well-publicized safety recalls when the quake disrupted production. The economy itself is expected to drop into another recession as a result of the disaster, even as some experts claim the nation never properly recovered from the asset bubble that popped in 1986 and dragged the economy down for over two decades afterwards. The Japanese stock exchange, the Nikkei 225, even hit a record low in 2009.
Through it all, the most remarkable trait of the Japanese is their resiliency. After being physically, morally and economically destroyed in WWII, the country rebounded and less than 30 years after two nuclear bombs were dropped on its leading industrial centres the country had blossomed into an industrial, technological and economic superpower.
When the water recedes, the roads fixed, and homes and factories repaired, I'm confident that Japan will rise from the ashes stronger than ever. After all, the world loves Japanese companies.
Like Nintendo. The portable 3DS game has already broken pre-sales records in the U.K. and early sales are also strong in the U.S. and Canada despite the higher price tag over the previous models. There is a chance that the quake will slow down the shipment of the devices, but that should only drive up the demand in the short term.
The device, which delivers glasses-free 3D gaming, arrived in Canadian stores on Mar. 20.
Sony is also doing better, refocusing more on their core strengths such as really nice televisions and the PS3, and less on robot dogs. Judging by the chatter online, their Xperia phone with slide-out analog joysticks is probably the most anticipated phone since the iPhone 4.
And Toyota? The company was vindicated after an investigation confirmed that poorly fitted floor mats were to blame for acceleration and braking issues, and not faulty software or mechanical design. With gas prices heading into record territory the demand for hybrids is through the roof right now.
Japan will continue to make some incredible products. While it's always best to shop local in my books, you can take solace in the fact that when you buy a Japanese television, car or phone that you're helping a nation to get back on its feet.