Billionaire investor, Warren Buffett, says neither the March earthquake nor the Olympus scandal has changed his view of Japan. And he continues to seek opportunities in the country.
“My view of the Japanese people, my view of the Japanese industry, is unchanged. I’ve just had a demonstration in the last nine months of the fact that something like the tsunami could produce an interruption, that it could not stop Japan’s business, it could not stop the Japanese people. But I would have expected that. I really have no difference in my investment outlook.”
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Buffett marked his first visit to Japan by opening a new factory in Iwaki City in Fukushima, located about 40 kilometers from the stricken nuclear power plant.
Tungaloy Corp is a toolmaker that’s 80% owned by Buffett’s investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway.
The area where the new factory stands was one of the worst hit following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11. And Buffett says the quick reaction and determination of the Japanese people has only strengthened his decision to invest in Japan.
Buffett adds that the Olympus scandal had not affected his plans, either.
“Olympus doesn’t change my view at all on Japanese investments any more than a similar type of occurrence in the United States would change my view there. I mean, periodically, something happens in an important business in the United States, in Europe, in Asia… wherever. That’s a big surprise to everybody but that doesn’t change the fundamental investment outlook for the country or hundreds of other businesses that operate there.”
Buffett’s comments immediately after the March earthquake, that Japan was a significant buying opportunity, gave a solid boost to Japan’s Nikkei average at that time.
Bottom line: Warren Buffett says neither the March earthquake, nor the Olympus scandal has changed his view of Japan. He continues to seek opportunities in the country.