TOKYO (AP) — Japanese shares rebounded sharply on Wednesday, recovering some of the massive losses sustained the last two days following a devastating earthquake and tsunami.
The Nikkei rose 547.86 points, or 6.4%, to 9,153.01. The index closed at its lowest level in almost two years Tuesday after shedding more than 1,600 points, or 16%, in two days.
The plunge prompted Tokyo Stock Exchange President Atsushi Saito to release a statement late Tuesday urging for calm. He noted that the foreign media remained impressed by the potential power of the Japanese economy, and that foreign investors were net buyers the last two days.
"I also believe that Japan's experience, knowledge and technologies in the area of recovering from earthquakes should not be underestimated and that the stock market will calm down soon," Saito said.
Meanwhile, the central bank pumped money into financial markets for a third day.
The Bank of Japan injected 3.5 trillion yen ($43 billion), following injections totaling 23 trillion yen ($283 billion) over the past two days.
Among the day's major gainers were Japan's big exporters. Toyota Motor Corp. rose 8.7%, and Sony Corp. shot up more than 10%.
Still, investors still kept a close watch on a rapidly changing crisis at a crippled nuclear power plant in northeast Japan. Authorities were still struggling to control the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant after a string of explosions and fires, as well as a burst of radiation.
Markets elsewhere in the region advanced. South Korea's Kospi added 2% to 1,960.94, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.1% to 4,580.4. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and New Zealand were also higher.
The nuclear crisis overtook financial markets around the world Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 137.74 points, or 1.1%, at 11,855.42. The broader S&P fell 14.52 points to 1,281.87.
In currencies, the dollar strengthened to 81.12 yen from 80.83 yen late Tuesday.
The dollar had fallen against the Japanese currency in the aftermath of the earthquake as investors bet that Japanese investors would close down overseas bets and bring their money home.
Demand for the yen may keep up as Japan seeks to fund the country's rebuilding. After a huge Japanese earthquake in 1995, the yen gained about 20% against the dollar in three months.
Benchmark crude for April delivery rose 75 cents to $97.93 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract tumbled $4 to $97.18 on Tuesday as the prospect of falling oil demand from Japan sent crude prices down.