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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Shizuo Kambayashi/AP)

The Bank of Japan had to intervene in bond markets Friday, stepping in to buy $6 billion in Japanese government debt after bond yields jumped 0.05%, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Japan has been fighting off deflation for decades, as its economy has struggled from the effects of a shrinking workforce, among other issues. To boost growth, the Japanese central bank has made an explicit commitment to keeping borrowing rates low.

Why Trump won't like it: There is a fine line between managing interest rates — all central banks buy and sell government debt to do so — and currency manipulation. Trump has singled out Japan as a country he considers to be engaged in currency devaluation, and will have the opportunity to air his grievances when Shinzo Abe, Japan's Prime Minister, visits Washington on February 10th.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.