The Japanese stock market tumbled on Monday as investors reacted to the impact of Friday’s earthquake and tsunami, including the nuclear emergency in the north east of the country.
Following record trading levels, the Nikkei 225 Index closed down 6.2 per cent, with companies involved in nuclear power and exporters experiencing big falls.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, fell by 24 per cent. Hitachi and Toshiba, which make nuclear power technology, both sank 16 per cent.
Car manufacturers also suffered big losses after they halted nearly all production at their plants because of disruption to their supply chains. Toyota dropped 8 per cent, Honda slid 6.5 per cent and Nissan fell 9.5 per cent.
Construction companies were the only sector to perform well, as investors looked toward the reconstruction work that will take place following the quake. Kajima soared 22 per cent and Nishimatsu Construction climbed 19 per cent.
On Sunday Japan’s financial services minister Shozaburo Jimi announced that the market would open as normal despite the emergency situation in some parts of the country.
In a statement, he said the Financial Services Agency would ‘rigidly monitor the markets to prevent any unfair transactions that take advantage of the disaster.’