Tokyo Stock Exchange plans to resume normal operations Friday after it halted trading for the day thanks to what they said was a malfunction in its computer systems – the worst such outage ever.
There was no indication that hacking or other cybercity breach resulted from theft in the world’s third-largest exchange.
“We are extremely pitying the troubles we’ve caused,” exchange President and Chief Executive Koichiro Miyahara told reporters late Thursday.
Sometime later, the exchange issued a press release saying it might open as was common on Friday. It said that it has no problem with resuming business.
Mr. Miyahara and other exchange officials said a hardware device they called “machine one” failed and therefore the backup “machine two” didn’t kick in, so stock price information wasn’t being relayed properly.
The officials characterized the matter as a memory malfunction.
He said that rebooting the system during a trading session would create confusion for investors and other market participants.
In the evening editions of newspapers in Tokyo’s financial district, shocked-puzzled passers-by studied the low-cost electronic screens, but listed company names, but at blank prices.
Brokerages were facing a flood of calls from frustrated investors.
“There should be an idea ‘B,’” Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., told broadcaster NHK.
The Japan Exchange Group is that the world’s third-largest bourse after the NY stock market and Nasdaq, with a market capitalization of nearly $6 trillion.
Other small stock exchanges in Japan were also impacted on Thursday.
Foreigners account for about 70% of all brokerage trading within the Tokyo exchange, both in terms useful and volume, so news of the outage left investors both in Japan and overseas wondering what happened.
The malfunction of basic hardware drew attention to vulnerabilities within the country’s digital systems. The newly appointed Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has upgraded such infrastructure, making it important for Japan’s competition.
Previous outages occurred when the large “Arrowhead” system created by Fujitsu to handle its electronic trading, which officials said involves some 350 servers, became overwhelmed with too many orders at just one occasion.
That’s what happened on Oct. 9, 2018, consistent with a release on the TSE’s website. But during that interruption, some backup systems for trading continued to operate as they had previously in an outage.
The exchange promised to research, conduct malfunction tests, and alter the system to make sure that a flood of orders wouldn’t cause the whole system to prevent working. Several top executives of the exchange were penalized.
Despite such occasional disruptions, Miyahara said the exchange’s motto was “never stop”.
Asked about possible losses caused by the outage, he said the exchange was focusing on the nonce on fixing the matter.
“I think it’s very regrettable that investors are limited in their trading opportunities because they can’t trade on the exchanges,” said Katsunobu Kato, the chief cabinet secretary.