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Tokyo stock prices plunged Wednesday, bringing the Nikkei average down 2.28 percent to a near 20-year low, after U.S. President George W. Bush pledged Tuesday to use “full force” if necessary to disarm Iraq. The president’s stated resolve cast a shadow over the U.S. and Japanese economies.

The 225-issue Nikkei stock average slid 194.31 points to end at 8,331.08 after falling to the day’s low of 8,304.05, near the post-bubble economy closing low of 8,303.39 on Nov. 14. The Nikkei last finished below that mark in March 1983.

The broader Topix index of all first section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange lost 15.4 points, or 1.83 percent, to 825.72.

Despite an overnight rise on Wall Street, stocks fell almost across the board and expanded losses throughout the day as investors dumped shares amid increasing tensions between the U.S. and Iraq.

“Mr. Bush’s speech renewed investor nervousness, even though the speech was not far beyond their expectations,” said Masatoshi Sato, senior strategist at Mizuho Investors Securities Co.

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