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TOKYO, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Wednesday as cooling inflation in China rekindled worries about weakened conditions in the world's second-biggest economy, a key market for Japan's major manufacturers.
The Nikkei share average fell 1.9 percent to 17,891.00 to end below 18,000 points for the first time since October 2.
Short-covering had driven a rally leading into U.S. earnings season, but buyers receded after soft consumer price data from China underscored the fragile state of its economy and persistent global deflationary pressures.
Japan's steel, machinery and shipping sectors, all with broad exposure to China, underperformed.
The Topix subindex for iron and steel shed 4.5 percent with heavyweights JFE Holdings and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal falling 5.2 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.
The broader Topix fell 2.2 percent to close at 1,470.83 while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 lost 2.2 percent to 13,174.03. (Reporting by Joshua Hunt; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)