Tokyo stocks opened 0.40 percent lower on Friday after the Japanese central bank said business confidence among the country's manufacturers tumbled in the final months of the year.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 39.17 points to 9,703.56 at the start of trade.
The yen remained weak after the Bank of Japan released its key Tankan survey which showed confidence among large Japanese manufacturers tumbled more than expected to minus 12 from minus three in the third quarter.
Economists had expected a reading of minus 10.
The figures represent the percentage of firms saying business conditions are good minus those saying they are bad and are a key measure used by the BoJ in formulating monetary policy.
A weak yen should help Tokyo stocks shake off European and US market sell-offs as worries intensify that Washington's fiscal cliff negotiations were dragging on with little progress, analysts said.
But "foreign investors are preparing for the Christmas holiday season, and so broad and aggressive position-taking is not likely, especially with the weekend coming up," said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equities at SMBC Nikko Securities.
The dollar was at 83.64 yen in early Asian trade, flat from New York Thursday afternoon.
The euro bought $1.3072 and 109.31 yen, also in line with levels in US trade.
-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article --