At 12:20 p.m. on Jan. 29 in Tokyo, a Nikkei headline set trading floors abuzz, throwing financial markets into chaos: "Bank of Japan discusses introducing negative interest rate." The news was totally unexpected. It instantly triggered a surge in Japanese shares and a plunge in the value of the yen as investors digested the implications.
Minutes later, the Japanese central bank confirmed the news. Some traders were skeptical about the effectiveness of the move but global markets gave it a clear thumbs-up. Yoichi Takita, Nikkei senior staff writer, analyzes what was behind the BOJ's decision, while other Nikkei writers assess the ramifications of the departure of a key cabinet minister.