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Buffett fires up stake in Land of the Rising Sun

In a year in which China is zooming ahead of the pack, what’s with Warren Buffett and Japan?

Eight months ago, the “Oracle of Omaha” overcame a long-held aversion to the land of the setting sun. For years, Buffett kicked Japan’s tires – most famously in late 2011. Back then, his visit to struggling post-earthquake Fukushima – with talk of a “big investment” – excited Japanese markets to no end.

Nothing until Covid-19-battered August 2020, when Berkshire Hathaway disclosed it piled more than US$6 billion into five giant Japanese trading houses the world had largely forgotten. It took 5% stakes in so-called “sogo shosha” names Itochu Corp, Marubeni Corp, Mitsubishi Corp, Mitsui & Co and Sumitomo Corp.