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Nikkei average ends year lower for first time in seven years

Weaker stocks show limits of Abenomics and BOJ's ultra-easy monetary policy

The Nikkei Stock Average ended above the 20,000 mark on Dec. 28, the last day of trading for the year. But it was unable to erase earlier losses and finished down 12% on the year.  (Photo by Shihoko Nakaoka)

TOKYO -- Tokyo stocks ended lower on Friday, leaving the benchmark Nikkei Stock Average down on the year for the first time in seven years.

The annual decline is widely seen as a setback for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the limits of his signature economic policy known as Abenomics.

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