One of the more controversial real estate investors in the past 30 years is a Japanese billionaire, Gensiro Kawamoto. During the late 1980s, Mr. Kawamoto drove through the streets of a well-to-do neighborhood just outside of Honolulu, Hawaii, bidding for dozens of houses on sight without even setting foot inside the properties. His offers were frequently in excess of what had been considered market prices, resetting prevailing values to a much higher level….
Reminiscent of what we are seeing in China today, Japan enjoyed massive trade surpluses in the 1980s. As money poured into their country, the price of stocks, bonds and particularly real estate soared. Companies were encouraged to recycle excess capital into Japanese stocks using special accounts that allowed them to book profits and bury losses. The Nikkei soared to great heights. It was estimated that just the land under the Imperial Palace in Tokyo was valued at more than all of the property within the State of California.
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