Japan’s main stock index, the Nikkei, has closed at its lowest end-of-year level since 1982.
Shares have lost around a fifth of their value over the past 12 months although the Nikkei is still 10 percent above its low of 2008 that resulted from the global financial crisis.
Europe is one reason blamed for the poor performance of Japanese stocks by Atsushi Saito, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
“It is unfortunate that this year did not go in leaps and bounds, as it should in the Year of the Rabbit and that this European debt crisis will remain an obstacle for the future,” he said.
But it is not just Europe. Japan has had a disastrous year in general. The majority of losses came in the two days following the March earthquake and tsunami that left 20,000 people dead or missing.
Manufacturing was severely disrupted at carmakers such as Toyota and electronics giants like Sony.
The subsequent meltdown scare at the Fukushima nuclear plant caused shares in parent company Tepco to plunge over 90 percent.