Tokyo stocks closed 1.39 percent lower on Wednesday as investors were discouraged by US Federal Reserve minutes showing divisions over its stimulus measures and took profit ahead of possible market leads.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 159.15 points to 11,309.13 while the Topix index of all first-section shares fell 1.11 percent, or 10.84 points, to 962.86.
Investors are in a wait-and-see mode ahead of the next Bank of Japan governor's selection expected sometime next week, elections in Italy, and the summit talks between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Barack Obama this week, they said.
"Trading volume and value levels are well off recent averages, suggesting that bigger overseas players are not willing to commit with so much due to be decided in coming days," an equity trading director at a foreign brokerage told Dow Jones Newswires.
The dollar was at 93.44 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade against 93.61 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon.
The euro bought $1.3239 against $1.3283 in US trade while slipping to 123.73 yen from 124.37 yen.
Sony shares slid after it unveiled a new-generation PlayStation 4 system in New York without showing the console or indicating pricing for it, falling 1.77 percent to close at 1,331 yen.
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal fell 2.73 percent to 249 yen.