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Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda. Photo: Alastair Pike /AFP/Getty Images

As the Fed approaches a likely rate cut at the end of the month — in the face of 50-year low unemployment, rising wages and strong consumer spending — it could not have been a better time for a visit to Washington from Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.

What it means: Kuroda has instituted some of the world’s most extreme and unorthodox monetary policies, including directing the central bank to buy Japanese stocks. More analysts are starting to believe such policies will be adopted in other places, including the U.S.

  • "Most economies have been experiencing low inflation and low growth since the global financial crisis," Kuroda said in a speech Monday at IMF headquarters in Washington. "Japan’s experience in the long battle against deflation could provide a case study for other central banks in conducting monetary policy going forward."

Catch up quick:

  • BOJ owns around 50% of Japan's government bonds — the world's largest single holder, by far (for comparison, the Fed holds about 10% of U.S. government bonds).
  • BOJ has even bought Japanese corporate bonds and owns around 80% of the country's ETFs.
  • BOJ's yield curve control program seeks to hold 10-year yields near 0%, effectively directing what is supposed to be a free market.
  • It was the first central bank in the world to introduce negative interest rates.
  • The central bank holds over $5 trillion of assets on its balance sheet, which is more than Japan's GDP, and the country's outstanding public debt is more than 5 times the size of its economy.

"We live in a time where the book on monetary policy continues to be rewritten ... just about every day," IMF acting managing director David Lipton said. "Of course, all serious monetary policy students will have read the book on Japan."

What's next: “If the ECB is really going to try to restimulate the economy in Europe, they are going to have to buy equities,” BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said on CNBC Friday.

  • "As soon as an unexpected event takes the market down hard and fast, we believe this will trigger the next wave of buying from central banks, but this time directed at stocks," Yves Lamoureux, president and founder of behavioral research firm Lamoureux & Co., tells Axios.
  • That will certainly include the Fed, Lamoureux says.

The last word: Asked whether it would be a good idea for other central banks to follow his lead, Kuroda said that in light of the current economic environment, "that might be the case."

Go deeper: The global economy's road to "Japanization"

Go deeper

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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

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The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.