TOKYO, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Tuesday, weighed down by plunging crude oil prices that continue to damage risk appetite.
The Nikkei share average slipped 2.7 percent to 17,218.96, extending earlier losses for its lowest closing since almost a year ago, when the benchmark index closed at 16,864.16 on January 16, 2015.
The Mother Market Index tracking high-growth and emerging stocks tumbled 6 percent.
"Mothers is very heavily retail, which means a lot of domestics are pushing the button," said Gavin Parry, managing director of Parry International Trading.
Traders said investors were unnerved by a Bloomberg report on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's comments on taxes in parliament.
"The market also seems to have been spooked by Abe's comments about raising taxes so long as there isn't a Lehman type event. It's nothing he hasn't said before, but to hear talk like that when the market is in this fragile state isn't good for sentiment."
Abe has made similar remarks befor, but traders said these comments took on a more worrying tone in light of the recent selloff.
The broader Topix shed 3.1 percent to end the session at 1,401.95 with each of its 33 subindexes in negative territory.
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 fell 3.1 percent to 12,624.58. (Reporting by Joshua Hunt; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)