Economy 12 February 2013 Japan targets the stock market The Nikkei at 13,000 is the new target. Print HTML Japan's stock market is on a tear today, apparently due to yet another unconventional economic move from its populist right-wing government. After attacking its central bank's independence, "nationalising" industrial stock and announcing a £70bn stimulus package for the stagnant economy, the country's economic ministry made another shock move over the weekend. Akira Amrai, Japan's economic minister, said in a speech that: It will be important to show our mettle and see the Nikkei reach the 13,000 mark by the end of the fiscal year (March 31)… We want to continue taking (new) steps to help stock prices rise. Before and after… the Nikkei jumped 200 points after Amrai's comments. The Nikkei at 13,000 would require 17 per cent growth in the next two months, which is ambitious. But now that we've had a change to see how the market reacts to such the move, it's looking very possible indeed. The government announcing it has a stock market target is largely a self-fulfilling prophecy: stock markets tend to price in future gains, and a government announcing that a certain level is now a matter of policy is as near certain as gains can get. Even if it undershoots, it's still clear that the statement has helped Japanese companies. The biggest direct concern is that such a statement might lead to a dangerous asset bubble, but a Nikkei of 13,000 would, if anything, remain underpriced. So long as the government doesn't get carried away with its success, the move seems to be a smart one. › Cocaine – the South Africa connection Photograph: Getty Images Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter. Subscribe More Related articles George Osborne's mistakes are coming back to haunt him The changing world of work Is Kezia Dugdale's tax rise the beginning of an honest debate about tax?