Y2 K: A Time Bomb Under The Nikkei

The financial sector may not be ready for the millennium bug

Here's a nightmare scenario. On Jan. 4, 2000, Japanese banks and brokerage firms open for the new year, and disaster quickly ensues. One brokerage tries to notify the Tokyo Stock Exchange of a trade--but then its computer system goes haywire because it cannot handle transactions in 2000 and beyond. Other securities firms run into the same trouble. The exchange tries to confirm trades by phone and deliver documents by hand instead of electronically. Havoc ensues, and the number of failed trades skyrockets. Alarmed, the Ministry of Finance suspends trading, and terrified U.S. and European banks and brokers put their Japan transactions on hold.

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