Japan has got what it takes to emerge a winner from the global 2020 great lockdown recession. In fact, there is growing evidence that the resilience and persistence practiced during Japan’s “lost decades” will now pay off and provide high returns — not just for investors, but also for society’s future prosperity.
To start, let’s follow the money. Japan’s listed companies started this year with the biggest cash reserves ever recorded anywhere in recorded history. Collectively the companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange reported slightly more than $6.5 trillion of cash and short-term securities on their balance sheet at the end of 2019, as I aggregate the data. This is up from barely $3 trillion eight years ago and, compared to American companies, the cash “war chest” is almost twice as large.