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An Army of Japanese Salarymen Is Rocking Global Currency Markets

  • Its ranks are swelling and so is its international impact
  • Japan’s economic woes are driving this forex trading force
Yasushi Takagi
Yasushi TakagiPhotographer: Kentaro Takahashi/Bloomberg
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Popular tales of “Mrs. Watanabe” -- the canny Tokyo housewife who dabbles in currency trading in between school runs and shopping -- barely begin to tell the story of Japan’s retail traders in the foreign exchange market.

With almost 800,000 active forex accounts, Japan boasts the world’s most powerful force of retail traders. It has doubled in size in little more than a decade and spurred some of the most dramatic price moves of recent times, including the January “flash crash” that hammered the dollar and sent the yen soaring.