Alternative assets that buck the markets have been a sweet spot for global investors seeking higher yields. For many in Japan, where the Nikkei 225 has fallen 36% since August 2000 and bond yields have been minimal, the search for that sweet spot led them to cows.
Several decades ago, Agura Bokujo, once Japan's second-largest beef producer, created a "wagyu beef ownership system" for retail investors, which promised returns of up to 8% every year, reports Japan Real Time. Investors could purchase "wagyu" cows for $35,000 to $58,000 per head with the promise of their spawning lucrative offspring. In Japan, wagyu cows are known as the "caviar of beef" because of the way their fat enhances flavor. They are pampered with beer and massages to enhance their unusual marbling, and they typically produce steaks that retail for several hundred dollars a pound. At the end of a several-year-long contract, the farm agreed to repurchase the cows from investors.
But as it turns out, the cows were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The discovery of foot-and-mouth disease in 2010 year caused beef prices to plunge, and the farm slaughtered 15,000 cows. Shortly thereafter, the region where the farm was located was leveled by a the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which damaged the nearby Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The assembly of Tokyo's Shibuya Ward is expected to pass an ordinance next week acknowledging same-sex partnerships as equivalent to marriage, after a bill for the ordinance was approved at a committee meeting Thursday. (Jiji Press)
Lee Dong Cheol, 61, and an employee of his trading firm were arrested by the Kyoto, Kanagawa, Shimane and Yamaguchi prefectural police departments on Thursday for allegedly importing North Korean matsutake mushrooms under the pretense that they were Chinese ones. (The Japan News)
An expert panel of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has concluded again that a fracture zone running just below the No. 2 reactor of the Tsuruga nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture is an active fault. (The Japan News)
Police reported a record-high 28,923 minors aged below 18 to child welfare authorities as suspected victims of child abuse in 2014, up 33.9 percent from a year earlier, the National Police Agency said Thursday. (Kyodo)
The two names of what appears to be Japanese are on the boarding list of a Germanwings airplane that crashed in southeastern France Tuesday, according to the Japanese consulate general in Barcelona. (Jiji Press)
Police on Wednesday arrested a 42-year-old man in connection with the deaths of his parents, who were found fatally stabbed the day before in a factory the family ran in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. (Japan Times)
The depths of the ocean are very mysterious, what with all the weird fish and sea creatures, shipwrecks and maybe even sunken treasure down there. It's no wonder scuba diving is such a popular activity, since you never know just what you'll come across. (rocketnews24.com)