The Nikkei Average of 225 selected issues at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) plummeted on Feb. 10 as growing concerns about the prospects of the world economy and plunging oil prices triggered sell-offs.
At one point, the Nikkei, the TSE’s key index, lost over 500 points, dipping below 16,000 for the first time since October 2014. There is no sign that Japan’s share prices will bottom out as unrest in financial markets has not subsided.
The nosedive of share prices in Tokyo began on Feb. 9 when the Nikkei index fell by over 900 points, the largest fall of the year. Shortly after noon on Feb. 9, market yields from newly issued 10-year government bonds, which are the index for long-term interest rates, turned negative for the first time in history. The share trading room of the TSE was flooded with selling orders.
The government desperately attempted to put the brakes on the downward trend. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in the afternoon, “The country’s financial system is very sound.” He said the government is determined to work with other Group of Seven member countries in responding to the situation.
The plunge was caused by a nosedive in share prices in the U.S. and European markets the previous day.