The reason for this is due to the way negative values are stored in Java. Because Java uses 2's complement to store negative numbers, the range of any integral value is always one value greater on the negative side than on the positive side. For example, the range of a byte is -128 to 127. You can't fit the absolute value of Byte.MIN_VALUE, which would be +128, into a byte. The same holds true for an int. The range of an int is -2^31 to 2^31 - 1.