It was at this very juncture three years ago, after the initial shock of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, that the full scope of the disaster came into greater light. Compounding the horrific losses of life, devastated communities and unfolding nuclear crisis, massive numbers of people were left with livelihoods turned upside down due to disruptions to businesses and the far-reaching linkages between them.

Such vulnerability runs deep in the Asia-Pacific. The region is hit by over 70 percent of all natural disasters and suffered $68 billion annually in related costs from 2003 to 2013. Mitigating the risks is an intensifying focus of collaboration for Japan and the other 20 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, whose well-being depends on unimpeded flows of goods, services, people and capital between one another.

The downturn in automobile and information and communications technology manufacturing in the months following the 3/11 tragedy, fanned by shortages of vital parts and raw materials from crippled producers, and ensuing turnaround within these labor-rich sectors as production lifelines were restored reflect these dynamics.