IMAGINE a world in which tax offices harry people who file their returns promptly; where big supermarket chains pay their suppliers before the goods fly off the shelves and not months afterwards; and where a pre-paid annual gym membership is more costly than paying month by month. It sounds fanciful, absurd even. Yet such a world came a step closer on January 29th, when Japan’s central bank cut the interest rate on bank reserves to -0.1% (see article).