TOKYO—Making a $130 billion profit in the stock market isn’t as fun as it seems—at least if you’re the Bank of Japan .
Over more than a decade, the Japanese central bank, uniquely among its global peers, has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into local equities and now owns about 7% of all the shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s first section. With stock prices near a 30-year high in Japan, shares bought by the central bank years ago have surged in value.
Instead of winning praise for its investing acumen, though, the BOJ faces growing pressure to stop acting like the Tokyo whale and find ways to spread the wealth. Some are calling on the BOJ to hand out shares to the public or use its gains to seed corporate innovation, in an echo of debates in the U.S. about whether the stock market’s gains are benefiting ordinary people.
Others say the BOJ is interfering with the independence of the stock market and needs—at the least—to stop adding to its holdings.