Famous for his ability to demolish buildings, the King of the Monsters would also be pretty adept at wrecking Japan’s finances.
In keeping with its original tagline, “Japan vs. Godzilla,” the King of the Monsters himself is the only kaiju to appear in the currently playing Shin Godzilla (to be called Godzilla Resurgence for theatrical release). But just because the titular star isn’t throwing down with Mothra, Ghidorah, or any of his other historical sparring partners doesn’t mean Tokyo gets off easy in the new movie.
IT Media Business asked a Tokyo-based business consultant to estimate how much damage, in monetary terms, the monster’s Shin Godzilla activities would cause, and got a thorough answer. For those who haven’t seen the movie yet, we’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum, although we don’t think it’ll come as a shock to anyone to hear that Godzilla crushes a lot of the capital before the credits roll.
Godzilla actually has a bit of a hit-and-run thing going on in the new film, as he emerges from the sea on two separate occasions. On his first outing, he busts up some roads, bridges, and tunnels in Tokyo’s Shinagawa and Ota Wards. It’s his second visit to dry land when things really start to get messy, though, as he stomps his way through Kanagawa Prefecture to the heart of Tokyo, trampling parts of the capital’s Setagaya, Meguro, Minato, Chiyoda, and Chuo Wards. The cost to put all of that architecture and infrastructure back together again would be some 9 trillion yen (US$87.34 billion).
The second time Godzilla comes to visit, both the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military welcome him with tanks and bombers, which are just ultimately as effective as conventional weapons always are in kaiju movies (i.e. not at all), so several pieces of expensive military hardware are destroyed. A later plan uses more unique equipment, sending Shinkansen bullet trains, tanker trucks, and a squadron of drones to the scrap pile, and also destroying seven buildings in downtown Tokyo, bringing the complete tally for the anti-Godzilla operations to 1.4 trillion yen.
But those are just the direct costs for Godzilla’s time in Tokyo. Evacuation expenses and production facility damage would come to a staggering 45 trillion yen, the analyst claims. All of those displaced citizens are going to need housing and other governmental support while they try to put their lives back together, which would be another 14 trillion yen. And while much of Tokyo is likely to rebuild, the consultant doesn’t believe the central government would set up shop there again in a world with a precedent of a rampaging monster spring up from the sea. That would also rule out other major urban centers such as Osaka, Nagoya, or Fukuoka, meaning a huge number of government organizations would have to move their offices and personnel to another, less infrastructure-rich city in which to set up a new capital, with an estimated cost of 14 trillion yen.
Add it all up, and the total cost of Godzilla attacking Tokyo would be 81.4 trillion yen (US$815.53 billion).
Granted, the government could try to recoup some of that figure by taking Godzilla himself to court and demanding that he pay for the destruction he caused. But while Godzilla’s pockets are looking pretty flush from his recent box office success, Shin Godzilla’s revenue isn’t anywhere near enough to cover the damages, so it’s probably a good thing that the big guy has been taking on some side jobs as of late.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’d like to personally thank Godzilla for not stepping on his apartment while passing through Yokohama.