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Tokyo stocks start 2020 with heavy losses amid US-Iran tensions

Shares drop nearly 2% in first 15 minutes of trading

Women in ceremonial kimonos mark the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first trading day of the year on Jan. 6. (Photo by Kei Higuchi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo stocks fell sharply early Monday, the first trading day of 2020, with investor sentiment dampened by declines in New York shares late last week amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran.

In the first 15 minutes of trading, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 431.75 points, or 1.83 percent, from Dec. 30 to 23,224.87. Tokyo markets had been closed since Tuesday for the New Year holidays. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 25.79 points, or 1.50 percent, at 1,695.57.

Decliners were led by marine transportation, securities house, and pulp and paper issues.

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