Warren Buffett doubles down on Japan, increasing stakes in five trading firms

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The logo of American multinational investing conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway is displayed on a smartphone screen.
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Berkshire Hathaway on Monday said its wholly-owned subsidiary National Indemnity Company has increased its stake in five Japanese trading firms to average more than 8.5%.

The companies involved are Itochu, Marubeni, Mitsubishi, Mitsui and Sumitomo. The aggregate value of these interests surpasses that of Berkshire-held stock in any country outside of the U.S., the firm said.

Berkshire Hathaway said it intends to hold its Japanese investments for the long term, with CEO Warren Buffett pledging the company will only purchase up to 9.9% of any of the five firms.

Buffett visited Japan in April to announce that Berkshire Hathaway would boost its investment in the various Japanese trading houses to 7.4%, after identifying the five businesses as comparable entities to his Omaha-based conglomerate.

The five firms are the largest of Japan’s so-called sogo-shosha, or general trading companies, and focus on diversified long-term investments that prioritize value and cash flow. Traditionally, they have been central to imports of energy, minerals and food into Japan and exporters of finished products.

Berkshire Hathaway owns no other investments in Japan.