Japanese Investor in Vietnam” Who Bought Russian Rubles Immediately after the War Started and Sold Them 3 Months Later to Make a Big Profit | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Japanese Investor in Vietnam” Who Bought Russian Rubles Immediately after the War Started and Sold Them 3 Months Later to Make a Big Profit

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Hidehiko Nakagawa runs a technical school for IT, architecture, accounting, and finance in Vietnam. Formerly a securities man who was very active in Japan during the bubble era.

When I heard that Russia had invaded Ukraine, I was shocked to hear that ‘in the 21st century, there is still a leader who invades without a cause,’ and I decided to do what I could for Ukraine.

I decided to do what I could for Ukraine,” said Hidehiko Nakagawa, 61, a Japanese investor and businessman living in Vietnam. What he did for Ukraine was to buy up Russian rubles circulating in Vietnam.

When the price of 1.8 yen per ruble plummeted to 0.85 yen per ruble, a money changer in Ho Chi Minh City bought up all the rubles he had. ‘Are you crazy?’ I said, ‘Just bring them all’ (laughs).

(Laughs.) Since they are also a horizontally connected business, word quickly spread that we had a foolish customer who was collecting paper scraps, and we collected a considerable amount of rubles.

However, how could there be ruble bills in Vietnam, so far away from Russia?

Vietnam boasts the largest oil reserves in ASEAN, and its oil industry is supported by Russian technology. There are many Russian engineers in Vietnam, and there are many signs in Russian on the streets. There were also quite a few rubles in circulation.

In June 2010, about three months after the outbreak of war, when the value of the ruble rose to 2.2 yen, Mr. Nakagawa sold everything. He made a huge profit.

I used to be a securities broker, so I put that experience to good use,” he says. I followed the industry’s teaching of ‘go against the grain. I hate to say it, but the market fluctuates when there are unfortunate events. After a major disaster, the stock prices of construction companies rise, and when war breaks out, the prices of related countries and companies also fluctuate.

The currencies of resource-rich countries like Russia are not so weak. In fact, when Russia was shut out of SWIFT (a network of banks around the world), it didn’t have that big of an impact. This is because there are plenty of sources of Russian resources.

Therefore, even if the ruble plummeted due to dislike of Russia, it was certain that an “ayame-ruble” (a slight rise in a falling market temporarily) would come.
It is common knowledge that securities dealers sell when the stock price doubles. This time, too, I considered selling at the same time the stock doubled.

Ukraine is not a stranger to us.

Mr. Nakagawa put all of his profits into supporting Ukraine, especially the children. In addition to sending sweets and daily necessities to Ukrainian refugee centers in Poland and to children in Kyiv, he also provided support in a slightly different way.

We were able to meet aspiring photographers and filmmakers who wanted to convey the current situation in Ukraine, so we decided to support their travel and stay expenses. We also thought that by selling the photos we took in Ukraine as NFT (Non-Falsifiable Digital Data), we could not only communicate the current situation, but also donate all the proceeds from the sale to Ukraine.”

Why does Mr. Nakagawa devote so much energy to supporting Ukraine?

Russia and Ukraine were originally the same country for a long time, and it is a conflict between people who are close to each other, so to speak. In Vietnam, where I live, a similar tragic war called the Vietnam War took place about 50 years ago. Also, next door to Vietnam is China, a great power, not Russia, and there are still tensions over territorial rights to the Nansha Islands. I couldn’t believe that Ukraine was a stranger to me.”

Mr. Nakagawa moved to Vietnam when he was 43 years old.

I like history, and I was very moved when I learned that Vietnam helped Japan during the Russo-Japanese War by boycotting the provision of fuel to Russia’s Baltic Fleet and giving them bad fuel. I wanted to give back to a country like that, so I moved there.”

Mr. Nakagawa is currently working for the development of Vietnam by running a vocational school there. He hopes that his energetic activities will serve as a bridge to peace.

Anger at Vladimir Putin written on a wall in Kyiv. The photographer of this photo is also cooperating with Mr. Nakagawa’s NFT-ization without compensation.
Some of Mr. Nakagawa’s relief supplies sent to a Ukrainian refugee center in Poland. He says, “I sent a lot of sweets.”
The town of Kyiv, ravaged by Russian bombing. These photos can be purchased at NFT and will be donated to Ukraine.
Ukrainian children who fled to Poland. The most memorable part of our support was the smiles on their faces,” said Mr. Nakagawa.

Photos of NFT can be viewed on this website.

From the April 21-28, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
  • PHOTO Courtesy of Mr. Nakagawa

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