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Global Economics

Vignettes in the Maelstrom

Open Door Policy
During the early hours of the quake disaster, Apple kept open its flagship store in Ginza, which doubled as an emergency communications center for employees and customers. With phone and train lines knocked out, people used Apple iPhones and Macs to contact family members via Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail. Apple's store also served as a crash pad for employees unable to get home.

Heading for the Exit
Fearing nuclear fallout, a number of companies are moving to safer ground. India's Tata Consultancy Services says it's ready to bring Indian employees home. Lufthansa rerouted its Tokyo flights to southern Japanese cities and will stop in Seoul for crew changes. Some Citigroup employees have requested relocation, but the bank has no plans to move anyone out of Japan unless the situation worsens.

Giving Back
Japan has long been a major donor to international aid efforts: In 2009 the government donated almost $9 billion in humanitarian and development aid. Now 132 countries have offered to help Japan. Nearly 700 international specialists and 32 dogs already are on the ground assisting with search and rescue, medical response, and assessments of what additional aid is needed to make the transition from rescue to recovery.

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