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.
Nineteen more people were confirmed by the health ministry on Monday to have contracted dengue fever in Tokyo, following three last week and bringing the total number to 22 in the first cases of domestic infection in Japan since 1945. (Nikkei)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the famous Toji Temple in Kyoto on Sunday, the second day of his five-day official visit to Japan aimed at bolstering the two countries' security and economic ties. (Kyodo)
A two-day festival to highlight the charm of Japan's Tohoku region started in a park in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Saturday morning to help reconstruction of the region devastated by the massive earthquake and tsunami some three years ago. (Jiji Press)
The body of a Japanese man was found floating in the Hudson River last week and may have been shot in the head, according to the New York City Police Department and Consulate General of Japan in New York. (Japan Times)
The Hiroshima prefectural police department said Friday that it has identified all 72 people who have been confirmed dead so far in the massive landslides that hit the city of Hiroshima last week. (The Japan News)