The Economy of Solar Eclipse

19 May in Life in Japan

The solar eclipse of 21st May 2012 gave a windfall gain of about ¥16 billion for the economy. According to a rough estitmate by Kansai University economist Katsuhiro Miyamoto, the total value includes about ¥760 million in sales of special viewing glasses and ¥1 billion in spending to observe the full eclipse from hotels. Considering that the event lasts only for a few minutes, it is a big benefit for the economy of Japan. The event is not rare but is first such opportunities to view the event in a perfect time in more than 20 years. 

eclipseThe annular solar eclipse is expected to start around morning 6:30, to peak around 7:34 (in Tokyo) and  can be observed widely in the areas  south of Kyushu, south of Shikoku, south of Kinki, Chubu, and Kanto. The corona and prominence would not be observed and also the stars cannot be seen because the sky is not dark enough like what happens during total solar eclipse. However, it is possible to observe the ring shape of the Sun.  Millions of onlookers watched the eclipse from Okinawa to northern cities of Kanto. In Tokyo, clouds played hide and seek games in several places but most were delighted to watch the rare event. 

In Japan, it is the first time to be able to observe the annular solar eclipse since it was observed in Okinawa area on September 23, 1987. The next annular solar eclipse will be happening after 18 years, in Hokkaido on June 1, 2030. Observers in many areas of Hokkaido missed today's eclipse because of the clouds and rains. Hopefully the next eclipse will not be as disappointing for them.