When markets are in chaos and currencies are fluctuating wildly, central bankers jump in to try to provide stability, as Ben Bernanke has done at the Fed. But in Tokyo a political standoff has left the Bank of Japan without a leader at the worst possible moment, reports the AFP. If MPs can't agree on a BoJ governor soon, the world's second-largest economy could face a serious crisis.
The previous central banker's term expired on Wednesday, but opposition politicians blocked the prime minister's nominee because of his previous roles in the finance ministry. Now the top job is vacant, and wrangling in parliament might mean that the Bank of Japan will be leaderless until April. Media in Japan are aghast at the delay: the Asahi Shimbun called the deadlock "an unprecedented, abnormal situation."