Japan's government said the cost of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeast could reach $309 billion, making it the world's costliest natural disaster on record.
The extensive damage to housing, roads, utilities and businesses across seven prefectures (states) has resulted in losses of between 16 trillion yen ($198 billion) and 25 trillion yen ($309 billion), according to a Cabinet Office estimate on Wednesday.
That could drag the economic growth rate down by 0.5 percent this year.
Image: A family album is seen amid the debris in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami-destroyed town of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan on Wednesday, March 23, 2011.
Text and Images: AP