News On Japan

The complexity of investing in Japan

Dec 31 ( - About a year ago Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s company, decided to invest 5% in Itochu, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Sumitomo, all commercial agents, which put Japan in the crosshairs of mutual fund managers.

In general, in the eyes of Westerners, the culture of Japanese companies has little to do with the Anglo-American model of shareholder capitalism to which a mutual fund manager is accustomed. What did W. Buffett see in these companies, mentioned above, if especially this type of company they distance themselves even further from the westernized vision?

This type of business, commercial agents, has been formed with the evolution of the history of Japan since the 19th century with the zaibatsu and keiretsu systems of corporate loyalty and cross-participation. Between the decades of the 50s and the 80s they acted as intermediaries traveling the world in search of energy, metals and minerals. helping underpin the Japanese economic miracle.

Later they invested in mines and hydrocarbons to increase the boom in raw materials that China led and then switch to something more “common” and they started to buy everything, from small shops to telephone. In the process they accumulated assets faster than they were able to sell, the results make them difficult for a mutual fund manager to handle. Mitsubishi sells everything from coking coal to KFC. Itochu, the most profitable, calls its consumer division the eighth company, which implies that they have run out of names after having to name another seven units.

News On Japan

The long-standing seniority-based system in Japanese companies is being phased out. Many have considered it natural to rise with age, but there have been times when people desired recognition based on ability. With this deeply ingrained system now under review, will the decision by a major bank change Japan's corporate culture?

In a significant ruling regarding the estate of businessman 'Kishu Don Juan,' the court declared on Friday the will, which states that his 1.3 billion yen estate be donated entirely to the city, to be valid. Relatives had contested the will's validity, but the court dismissed their claims.

A controversy has erupted over the sale of high-priced premium seats at the Gion Festival. Yasaka Shrine's chief priest has expressed concern over the decision to sell premium seats for 150,000 yen each, stating, "This is not a show."

The Tokyo gubernatorial election was officially announced on June 20th, with a record 56 candidates running. However, the allocated poster spaces only accommodate 48 candidates, leaving some without a place to display their posters. As a workaround, clear file folders are being used, causing confusion at polling sites.

A rare 63-leaf clover, cultivated in the garden of Takaharu Watanabe in Nasushiobara City, Tochigi Prefecture, has been officially recognized by Guinness World Records this month.



Japan's Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako are embarking on an eight-day trip to Britain as state guests. They were officially invited by King Charles. (NHK)

Police in central Japan are investigating the possibility of a bear attack following the grim discovery of a man in his 50s found dead in a forest with claw marks on his face and back.

A high-profile papa katsu woman who earns 5 million yen a month has shared her insights following the resignation of former MP Miyazawa over a papa katsu scandal. In a candid interview, the woman, identified as Rika, 25, shed light on her two-year experience in the world of compensated dating, commonly referred to as papa katsu.

A hotel in Kyoto refused to accommodate an Israeli man, unilaterally identifying him as a member of the military. The city issued administrative guidance to the hotel on June 20, citing potential violations of the Hotel Business Law.

A steam locomotive (SL) driver at Mooka Railway was found to have exceeded the alcohol limit twice during pre-operation checks but continued to operate the train. The incident came to light following an internal whistleblower's report.

The Tokyo High Court upheld the life sentence for a former nurse accused of killing three elderly patients by mixing disinfectant into their IV drips at the former Oguchi Hospital in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. The verdict was delivered on June 19, confirming the initial ruling by the Yokohama District Court in 2021.

As temperatures rise and more skin is exposed, the incidence of voyeurism tends to increase. To combat this, the Osaka Prefectural Police have devised an innovative strategy using a simple yet effective tool -- mirrors.

With the new currency release drawing near, unexpected issues are emerging. This month, known as the season of June brides, sees many weddings, but there are growing concerns over the difficulty in obtaining crisp banknotes for wedding gifts.