Once more back from the brink
After years of failing to address the problems in Japan's financial sector, it seems that part of the country's establishment has finally tired of the painful status quo. In a move that caught many observers by surprise, the Bank of Japan announced in mid-September that it was going to buy shares held by the country's major banks.
At the time of the announcement, Bank of Japan governor Masaru Hayami said that he believed such a move would help the banks to deal with their bad loans. Put another way, the banks could use the cash to write off some of their non-performing assets. Estimates for the amount of the bad loans range from the official number of ¥52 trillion to the unofficial figure of ¥100 trillion ($816 billion).