Japanese stocks fell, with the Topix index heading for its first back-to-back loss in almost four weeks, after the yen gained yesterday and U.S. shares fell amid rising tensions in Iraq.

The Topix dropped 0.7 percent to 1,229.29 as of 9:03 a.m. in Tokyo, poised for its first two-day decline since mid-May. All but one of the 33 industry groups declined. The gauge has lost 0.4 percent this week. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average slid 0.8 percent to 14,853.43. The yen traded at 101.75 per dollar. Japan��s currency strengthened 0.4 percent yesterday and U.S. shares fell amid a surge of violence in Iraq and weaker-than-expected American retail sales. The Bank of Japan issues a policy statement today.

The violence across northern and central Iraq, three years after U.S. troops withdrew, has raised the prospect of a return to sectarian civil war in OPEC��s second-biggest oil producer. Iraqi forces sought to check the rapid advance of Islamist militants who had seized major cities, as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki responded to the greatest threat to his government since taking power.

Source : Bloomberg