Japan stocks plunge due to panic over nuclear plant blast

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Japanese benchmark Nikkei index nose-dived nearly 11 percent, and Asia stocks also slumped as two more explosions occurred at the Fukushima nuclear plant while radiation levels in Tokyo once rose above normal levels on Tuesday.

Japan's 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 1,015.34 points, or 10.55 percent, to close at 8,605.15 after falling to as low as 8, 227.63. It plunged more than 14 percent at one point on panic selling.

The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange plunged 80.23 points, or 9.47 percent, to 766. 73.

Two blasts occurred Tuesday morning at the Fukushima nuclear plant, with one explosion happened at the No. 2 reactor and another hydrogen blast broke out at the building housing the No. 4 reactor of the nuke plant, which was crippled by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake on Friday.

Meanwhile, Asia stocks suffered sharp losses on Tuesday due to concerns over the world's third-largest economy.

Chinese benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed down 1.41 percent to 2,896.26 points, while the Shenzhen Component Index fell 1.95 percent to 12,705.32 points.

Hong Kong stocks dove 2.86 percent to close at 22,678.25 on Tuesday. Taiwan's share prices slumped ending down 285.24 points or 3.35 percent to close at 8,234.78.

South Korean benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index declined 47.31 points to 1,923.92. At the same time, Australia's uranium share stocks continue diving following a wave of selling on fears of further tragedy as explosions rocked nuclear power stations in Japan.

The devastating earthquake and the ensuing tsunami has killed more than 10,000 people and plunged millions into misery. Some 140, 000 people were ordered to seal themselves indoors Tuesday as Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation has spread from four reactors of the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Radioactivity is being released directly into the atmosphere, the UN atomic watchdog IAEA said earlier Tuesday.

The massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last week will cost its economy about 100 billion U.S. dollars, Singapore's DBS Bank estimated Tuesday.

The sum is about two percentage points of Japan's annual gross domestic product (GDP), said David Carbon, the bank's managing director for economic and currency research.

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