Tokyo stocks opened 0.20 percent lower on Tuesday, the final day of 2014 trading, as overnight Wall Street shares ended essentially flat.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 35.33 points to 17,694.51 in the first minutes of trading.
Japanese shares lost ground on Monday as worries over a possible Ebola virus outbreak in Tokyo cast a chill over the market.
Authorities said late Monday that a Japanese man in his 30s who developed a fever following his return to Japan from Sierra Leone tested negative for suspected Ebola infection.
"The Monday Ebola scare caused a knee-jerk reaction in a thinly traded, retail investor-driven market, but I expect that with no further external disruptions and a stronger dollar, shares should at least remain resilient today," says SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.
On Monday, the S&P 500 edged up to a fresh record, while the Dow ended a seven-day winning streak as equity markets largely shrugged off new political instability in Greece.
The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.09 percent to 2,090.57, marking its second record close in a row, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.09 percent to 18,038.23.
Stock markets in Britain, France and Germany rallied into positive territory after initially falling on news that Greece was headed for snap polls.
The Greek parliament failed to elect a leader for the third time Monday, raising uncertainty about the country's economic reforms under an international rescue program.
The dollar was at 120.65 yen early Tuesday, compared with 120.66 in New York Monday, while the euro bought $1.2156 and 146.68 yen, against $1.2153 and 146.65 yen.
-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this story --