Japanese Farmers and Subprime: Would the real farmer please stand up?

Cash Crop
Who is Japan’s little known rice growin’
financial hotshot?

The UK has it’s first bank run in 150 years. Citibank fired it’s CEO. The whole financial world is reeling from the financial mess called subprime (see here for our easy to understand footnote on subprime).

Even GM (last I checked they made cars and not houses!) has been forced to book a multi-billion dollar loss due to subprime. While hedge fund managers are collapsing left, right and centre, could there possibly be a Saviour? What’s that I see on the horizon? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No… it’s a Japanese farmer!???

This sort of turmoil in the international financial market is unusual. In July Ben Bernanke, head of the US Fed, saw subprime losses reaching $100 billion US dollars. By early October, most market watchers had increased this figure to $400 billion US dollars. And with yet another collapse in asset backed securities (ABS) prices in the last few weeks, the growth in the turmoil seems to be growing again. Continue reading

Shareholder Activism The Japanese way: Is it all about “Wa”?

Hanko - Signed and Sealed
Japanese Corporate Governance – Slowly Changing?

Maybe it is because I’m a closet fan of Koizumi and Takenaka, but I haven’t thrown in the towel on Japanese corporate governance yet. After the spectacular failure of Steel Partners to stop the Bulldog Sauce poison pill, most foreign investors seem to have given up hope completely. (Have you seen the Bulldog Sauce share price recently?) It’s simple to jump to the conclusion that corporate Japan hasn’t changed at all – but although you can only call them baby steps at best, I think that things are slowly changing.

Sure, an arrogant gaijin was a failure when he tried to pick a fight in true Western style, but we are slowly starting to see the emergence of Continue reading

Japanese Beatles in Hong Kong – Mr. Moonlight is the new Abbey Road?

Mr. Moonlight's signature drum at Hong Kong's premier Beatles BarHad enough of the Tokyo heat? What better way to spend a quiet stippy weekend than hit the streets of Hong Kong for a bite of 飲茶 (Yum Cha / Dim Sum) and a couple of rounds of 麻雀 (Mahjongg) with the locals in Kowloon Park? If you catch JAL, you can even convince yourself that you’re doing something to help the Mother Country. But JAL isn’t the only connection that Hong Kong has with Japan (and whatever else it is that we at Stippy.com claim we are writing about). We are always keen for a challenge and love it when our readers Continue reading