Japanese athletes have proved they can compete on a global level, as seen in the monthlong World Cup soccer finals cohosted by Japan and South Korea that ran until the end of June.

In the U.S., baseball players like Ichiro Suzuki, Kazuhiro Sasaki and Hideo Nomo have been performing impressively.

How about Japanese stocks?

The barometer Nikkei average of 225 major issues plummeted to 10,071 on June 26 from a high for this year of 11,979 on May 23.

While the plunge of nearly 2,000 points or 15.9 percent, in about a month is noticeable, the U.S. Nasdaq composite index suffered a similar fall — 16.1 percent — during the period, testifying to the linkage of Japanese stocks and U.S. stocks.

Japanese stocks are affected by U.S. stocks too strongly, even if the huge influence of the U.S. economy on Japan is taken into account.

In late June, the Nasdaq index temporarily fell below its low set after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, reflecting worries over possible downward revision of earnings projections by high-tech companies, accounting scandals at major companies, including WorldCom Inc., and continuing concerns about the threat of terrorism.

However, U.S. stocks as a whole are believed to have reached their bottom range as price adjustments have run their course.

The domestic stock market made a turnaround when the Nikkei average touched bottom at 9,420 in February, mirroring an economic bottoming-out and expectations of a steep recovery in corporate earnings.

For now, the Nikkei average is expected to move around 10 percent on either side of 11,000. While the upside of the box range is forecast to be heavy, the market will find itself in the lower price zone with the average at the 10,000 level.

Participants in the Tokyo stock market will continue to keep close watch on developments on Wall Street and the currency market.

Nevertheless, the Tokyo market is expected to begin a rally before August along with the release of quarterly results by Japanese and U.S. high-tech companies that will get fully under way in mid-July.

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