The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (
) -- After a long, long, long wait -- 20 years, in fact -- I took the dive into the pool that is Japan on Monday and bought a well-diversified basket of Japanese stocks. And guess what? The water's warm! I encourage you to dive in as well.
But Alan, you say, look at the massive amount of devastation that the earthquake and tsunami have wreaked upon Japan. How on earth can a country get back on its feet from such a catastrophic turn of events?
Well, it won't entirely do so -- at least not immediately. To be clear, the loss of human life is economically and psychologically immeasurable, and our deepest sympathies go out to all those affected by this calamity.
That said, Japan's citizens ultimately have no choice but to pick up the pieces and rebuild. And therein lies the investment opportunity, as a spirited, determined and rejuvenated Japanese populace will strive to rebuild and improve upon what they have lost.
This will be part of the necessary and healthy healing process by which Japan will once again rise. And lucky for you, you can even benefit from this pending reversal of fortune as the collective Japanese spirit once again rises.
But Alan, you say, this is Japan, with too many retired, elderly citizens and not enough young workers to support the older generations in their retirement. What's more, this "demographic headwind" limits the ability of Japan to productively grow its economy. Besides, Japanese citizens have been oversaving for years, unwilling to spend their income, which means the economy can't grow quickly enough to generate the profits I expect companies to earn if I were to invest in their stocks.
And don't get me started, you say, on how brutally overleveraged the Japanese government is. Can you say debt-to-GDP ratio of 220%, which makes America's members of congress look like a bunch of Calvinists. Last I checked, Alan, the nuclear problems will put into question Japan's strategy for generating power cost effectively for its citizens and corporations, and Japan is a net importer of commodities in an environment where commodity prices may well be escalating. How could I possibly think about buying Japanese stocks now?