Just got a brief e-mail from my brother who lives in Tokyo:

I am fine… I flew standby to West Japan (Kyushu). I’m now in Kumamoto. I am in an unfamiliar city without a hotel reservation at a time when many are fleeing Tokyo.

We spoke on the phone Sunday night, and he told me the story:

When the earthquake first hit, the building started moving immediately. It was crazy… Walking around my office felt like walking on a waterbed. I hustled away from the window, toward the bookshelves. Then books started falling, so I knew I had to get out of there.

I grabbed my coat and keys and started rushing down the stairs. I got stopped on about the 10th floor because of the crowd. At that point, it felt like I was on a crowded boat in a storm at sea, getting tossed back and forth.

[ad#Google Adsense]I finally made it outside, looking for solid ground. It didn’t exist… It felt like I was walking around on Jell-O.

He also explained that an earthquake is different from what we Floridians are used to with hurricanes. He realized it during the worst of the earthquake… “The nice thing about a hurricane is, you know when it’s coming, you know roughly how strong it is, and most important, you know when it’ll be over.”

This is the worst crisis in Japan since World War II…

The positive spin on Japan’s tragedy will be that this destruction will cause rebuilding that might kick Japan’s economy into gear once again, like it did after World War II.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. In the 1946 book Economics in One Lesson, author Henry Hazlitt exposed the fallacy here… No man burns down his own house on the theory that the need to rebuild it will stimulate his energies.

What’s true for one man is true for a country. You can’t argue the destruction will be a net benefit to the Japanese economy.

But Japan will rebuild… to get back to where it was.

And as I’ve told you, small stocks in Japan are the cheapest stocks in the world – by far.

They’re even cheaper now… Over two days, Japan’s TOPIX (a broad stock market index) fell more than it ever has since its inception in 1949.

People are selling first and asking questions later. Japanese stocks as a whole are trading at just 1.06 times book value. (Compare that to the Dow, which goes for 2.75 times book.)

Small-cap Japanese stocks are trading at just 0.7 times book value – or a 30% discount to book value – and 0.34 times sales. This is off-the-charts cheap.

Those are the statistics of the WisdomTree Japan Small Cap Dividend Fund (DFJ).

[ad#article-bottom]DFJ is currently a recommendation in my True Wealth newsletter. Your upside potential is hundreds of percent. And in True Wealth, we limit our risk to a 25% trailing stop. We will stick to that trailing stop discipline.

Even with the devastation in Japan, I still believe DFJ has the potential to turn out to be a fantastic investment.

Good investing,

— Steve Sjuggerud

[ad#jack p.s.]

* Source:  Daily Wealth