Nikkei dives 1.69% as nuke crisis level upwardly revised

08:54, April 13, 2011      

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A man looks at the closing prices of Japan's Nikkei share average displayed outside a brokerage in Tokyo April 12, 2011. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Tokyo stocks plunged on Tuesday, with the key Nikkei stock index falling 1.69 percent as Japan's raising the severity of its nuclear crises to maximum level dampened investor sentiment whilst a strong yen dented exporter- related issues.

Brokers said that trading got off to a jittery start Tuesday morning with stocks opening lower following a series of seismic aftershocks that sparked concerns more trouble may arise at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, 220 km northeast of Tokyo.

The plant's officials said a fire did break out at a battery station, but was quickly extinguished on Tuesday.

Losses were extended in the closing hours of trade as a 6.3- magnitude earthquake struck Fukushima prefecture at 02:07 p.m. local time causing the Nikkei to dive as much as 2.1 percent.

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency raised its severity rating of the Fukushima nuclear crisis to 7, the highest level possible, putting the disaster on a par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the severity far exceeding that of the Three Mile Island partial meltdown in the United States.

"Investor sentiment is deteriorating because it seems uncertainty is going to remain for a long time," said one local market analysts. "There's concern about how disruptions to Japan's supply chain will affect the global economy."

Other market players said that the announcement by Japan's nuclear safety agency led some foreign investors to believe that the ongoing nuclear crisis could continue to elevate and put the nation's economic hub in danger.

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