There was fresh embarrassment for the Tokyo Stock Exchange as it had to halt trading after a surge in orders to sell shares overloaded its computer systems.
The world’s second-largest exchange had to close for the day 20 minutes early on Wednesday.
That follows two major computer breakdowns at the bourse in the past three months.
The panic sell off was precipitated by an investigation into Livedoor, an Internet company, which is suspected of giving false information about its revenues.
Government spokesman, Shinzo Abe, said the selling was an over-reaction: “It seems likely that the ongoing investigation into Livedoor’s subsidiaries led share prices to fall. But even considering the Livedoor factor, I think they are falling too much, too fast.”
Livedoor is one of Japan’s highest profile companies.
Tokyo public prosecutors raided its headquarters and the home of its colourful, young chief executive, Takafumi Horie.
The Tokyo stock market has been roaring ahead and Jack Reerink, who covers the Asian stock markets for Reuters, feels the systems need updating.
He said:“The exchange has had some high profile trading glitches in recent months caused by these swelling volumes of trade. The need to upgrade its trading system to accommodate its trade is more dire than ever.”
The exchange has admitted that its computers can only handle 4.5 million orders each day.
It says from now on it will shorten its trading hours
for by half an hour each day.