TOKYO, March 17 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average ended at a fresh 15-year closing high on Tuesday, with sentiment lifted by gains in U.S. and European shares and expectations that Japanese companies could improve their return on equity.

The Nikkei share average closed at 19,437.00, up 1 percent, after rising as high as 19,479.89, its highest level since April 2000.

The broader Topix rose 0.8 percent to 1,570.50 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.9 percent to 14,303.11.

(Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)