(I almost put the title as "Idiotic Japan" instead of "Idiosyncratic Japan"...)
He's at it again. Governor of Tokyo Naoki Inose seems to have fully recovered from his faux pas over Turkey. He now wants to have the Japan Standard Time advance by 2 hours so that the Japanese financial markets will become the first major market in the world to open.
What's the point, you may ask?
According to Asahi Shinbun who reported the news, it is to enhance the status of Tokyo as financial center in the eyes of the world. Daylight saving time (Summer time)-like effect will be economically beneficial, they say, without telling us who touted these benefits (I assume it is Governor Inose).
By advancing the clock by two hours, Tokyo can open one hour earlier than Australia.
Are they kidding, you may ask?
No, dead serious. The Abe administration will consider Inose's demand as part of the economic growth strategy to be compiled in June, in preparation for the July Upper House election.
I could already hear roaring laughs from real financial centers in Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai).
From Asahi Shinbun (5/22/2013):
Governor of Tokyo suggests Japan Standard Time to be "two hours earlier", and the national government will consider the suggestion
Governor of Tokyo Naoki Inose is going to propose at a meeting of the industrial competitiveness conference to be held on May 22 by the national government that Japan Standard Time be advanced by two hours. The aim is to encourage financial institutions to be based on Japan by making the financial markets in Tokyo first to open in the world.
Japan Standard Time was set in 1886 and hasn't been changed since. However, there are examples overseas in which the standard times were altered by the government decisions. For example, Singapore advanced the local standard time in 1982.
If Japan Standard Time is advanced by two hours, financial markets such as foreign exchange markets will be the first to open in the world, and that is said to enhance the presence of Tokyo among the world financial markets.
Right now, the European financial markets open in the evening in Japan. But if Japan Standard Time is advanced by two hours, the market hours of the three biggest financial markets of Tokyo, London and New York can complement each other.
Effects similar to daylight saving time (summer time) will be obtained, resulting in savings in energy consumption.
The presence of Tokyo in the world financial markets has been already enhanced, albeit in a bad way, with yields of Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) going all over the place and crashing other financial asset classes, thanks to Bank of Japan's clumsy, amateurish interventions (none of which by the way is reported much in Japanese press).
Daylight saving time is usually one hour advance. But no, Japan will do two, and screw up everyone's internal clock badly. Why it's all for the economic growth!
Japan as Number One was the title of a best-selling book by Ezra Vogel published in 1979, before the start of the asset bubble in Japan in 1980s.
One more time, with arrogance and hubris.