Japan acts to ease lending strains, cuts to 0.1%

The Bank of Japan has shaved two-tenths of a percentage points off its key rate and introduced a raft of measures aimed at easing financing tensions in the run-up to the year-end, including outright purchases of commercial paper.

The central bank's eight-strong Monetary Policy Council on Friday voted seven to one in favour of the cut, which leaves the benchmark overnight uncollateralised overnight rate target at 0.1%, its lowest level since June 2006.

The council gave a bleak assessment of th