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Japan's Crisis Will Hit L.A.'s Pocketbook: City Prepared to See Fewer Tourists, Less Trade

L.A.'s Little Tokyo.
L.A.'s Little Tokyo.

What's bad for Japan is bad for L.A.

And while we can't belittle the pain and suffering of that nation, we can say that its triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis) will put a dent in our own economy. That's because Japan is the Port of Los Angeles' number-two customer next to China.

In fact ...

... port officials say trade with Japan was worth $35 billion last year alone. The back-and-forth with that nation also helps secure about 800 jobs, says port business deputy Kathryn McDermott.

Little Tokyo: A tourist destination in L.A.
Little Tokyo: A tourist destination in L.A.

As such, the slack off in imports and tourists as a result of Japan's problems will begin to affect L.A. this month, even putting a dent in the city budget.

L.A.'s budget office says its hotel and sales tax revenue projections for the next fiscal year might be off as a result of the loss in Japanese tourism, which would normally send more than 300,000 visitors a year to L.A.

It's bad news for a city budget that's already in the hole.

"The city itself has a very large amount at stake in this trade,'' Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation chief economist Nancy Sidhu told city budget, trade and tourism officials this week.

Sidhu said we should also be prepared to take a hit with Japanese foreign investors who might normally plant their cash by helping to grow area businesses

As it stands, that's about $2.6 billion worth of investment, Sidhu said.

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us. Follow us on Twitter, too: @dennisjromero.


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