Tokyo stocks were higher at the open on Wednesday but quickly slipped into the red as investors weighed mixed signals over the coronavirus that is hammering the global economy.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index opened up 0.55 percent or 103.94 points at 19,054.12, while the broader Topic index eked out a 0.32-percent gain or 4.44 points to 1,407.65.
But both indices turned red about 20 minutes into trade, the Nikkei trading down 0.30 percent and the Topix down 0.09 percent.
"Japanese shares are seen top-heavy after the Dow's rally in New York fizzled," Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said in a commentary.
Investors shrugged off the much-trailed declaration of a state of emergency in Japan, made official late Tuesday.
Fujifilm was down two percent at 5,712 yen on profit-taking after rallies in recent sessions due to its Avigan medicine showing promise as a coronavirus treatment.
Toyota was down 0.84 percent at 6,562 yen after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the automaker was cooperating with other firms to produce ventilators to ease potential hospital shortages.
Nintendo fell 0.87 percent to 42,810 yen after a report it has suspended shipments of the Switch game console in Japan as the company became unable to keep up with rising demand due to supply chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The dollar fetched 108.55 yen in early Asian trade, against 108.83 yen in New York.
US stocks gyrated Tuesday as markets grappled with the latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak.
On Wall Street, the Dow, which was up almost 1,000 points earlier in the session, finished down 0.1 percent at 22,653.86.