The Bank of Japan has taken over as the biggest owner of the nation's stocks, with the total value of its holdings climbing well above $400 billion.
Massive exchange-traded fund purchases by the Bank of Japan to support the market amid the pandemic this year combined with subsequent valuation gains pushed its Japanese equity portfolio to ¥45.1 trillion ($433 billion) in November, according to estimates by Shingo Ide, chief equity strategist at NLI Research Institute.
That marks the first time that the central bank's holdings have eclipsed those of the Government Pension Investment Fund, Tokyo, which Mr. Ide estimates stood at ¥44.8 trillion last month, based on gains on top of its holdings as of Sept 30.
Regardless of which whale is larger, the dominant presence of these two public entities has raised concerns over their influence on market prices. The combination of "a state-run institution, the BOJ, and the country's representative public pension fund, the GPIF, buying up local equities feels distorted," said Satoshi Okumoto, CEO at Fukoku Capital Management.