The Nikkei eventually closed down 114.95 points at 14,779.05, with the unwinding of corporate cross-shareholdings ahead of the fiscal year-end helping to depress share prices. Shares in the financial sector rose after 15 large banks announced plans to restructure, a prerequisite for receiving state assistance.
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THE BENCHMARK Nikkei index breached the 15,000 level for the first time since December, but profit-taking pushed the index lower in late trading.