Japanese shares fell sharply in early trade Tuesday, briefly sending the country's benchmark index to its lowest level since December 2003.
The Nikkei 225 was down 241.32 points, or 2.3 percent, at 10,231.77 near the close of morning trading. But earlier the index had tumbled over 5 percent to 9,916.21, dropping through the 10,000-barrier for the first time in almost five years.
The drop came after global markets plunged overnight. The Dow Jones industrial average closed below 10,000 for the first time since 2004, and its fall was the dominant news story in papers and TV early Tuesday in Tokyo. Markets across Europe were also down heavily.
The dollar continued to fall against the yen, trading near 101.53 yen versus 103 yen levels a day earlier.
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