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Nikkei hits 1-1/2 month low ahead of school-scandal testimony

TOKYO, March 23 The Nikkei share average fell to a 1-1/2 month low in choppy trade on Thursday morning as investors became cautious before the testimony in parliament by the head of a Japanese nationalist school at the heart of a political scandal.

The Nikkei was down 0.3 percent at 18,983.97 in early trade, its lowest intraday level since Feb. 9, after opening a tad higher.

Yasunori Kagoike will appear before the budget committees of the upper and lower houses to give sworn testimony, the latest twist in a crisis that is chipping away at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's popularity.

The broader Topix dropped 0.1 percent to 1,528.19 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.1 percent to 13,662.71. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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