SINGAPORE – Japan may need five years to rebuild from the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that has caused up to $235 billion in damage, the World Bank said today.

The March 11 disaster — which killed more than 8,600 people and left more than 12,800 missing, and ravaged northeastern Japan — will likely shave up to 0.5 percentage point from the country’s economic growth this year, the bank said in a report.

The impact will be concentrated in the first half of the year, it said.

The bank cited damage estimates between $123 billion and $235 billion, and cost to private insurers of between $14 billion and $33 billion.

It said the government will spend $12 billion on reconstruction in the current national budget and “much more” in the next one.

It also said a crippled nuclear power station poses uncertainties and challenges.