Asian stock markets tumbled in risk-off trade on Wednesday, as mounting concerns over U.S. military action against Syria fuelled investor demand for safe haven assets.
Ongoing uncertainty over the timing of the Federal Reserve's widely expected reduction in monthly bond purchases also weighed. The Fed's stimulus program is viewed by many investors as a key driver in boosting the price of global equities.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei fell to a two-month low as the yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar, weighing on sentiment.
USD/JPY fell to hit a session low of 96.86, moving off the previous session's high of 98.34. A stronger yen reduces the value of overseas income at Japanese companies when repatriated, dampening the outlook for export earnings.
Automakers Toyota and Honda saw shares drop 2.3% and 2.4% respectively, while consumer electronics makers Sony and Sharp fell 3.5% and 2%.
Japanese megabanks were also lower with shares of the nation's largest lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group shedding 2%, while Mizuho Financial Group and Nomura Holdings declined 1.5% and 3.5% respectively.
Index heavyweights Fast Retailing and Softbank saw shares drop 0.8% and 1.9% respectively.
Police in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, have arrested a man who admitted to landing a drone with low-level radioactive sand on the roof of the prime minister's office to protest the government's nuclear energy policy, officials said Saturday. (Japan Today)
Fukuoka Prefectural Police on Friday took the acting chairman of the Kudo-kai organized crime group into custody for a shooting death that took place seven years ago, reports the Sankei Shimbun (April 24). (Tokyo Reporter)
Japan's Cultural Affairs Agency said Friday it has put 18 cultural assets on the newly created "Japan Heritage" list in hopes of luring more foreign tourists and revitalizing regional economies. (Jiji Press)
Two men, a male teenager and a female teenager are under arrest on suspicion of abducting an 18-year-old teen from Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, and holding her captive, police said Friday. (Japan Times)
The Apple Watch launched globally on Friday with a small queue of Japanese tech-addicts lining up in Tokyo for Apple Inc's first wearable gadget, but there was no sign of the excitement usually attached to the company's product rollouts. (Reuters)
Survivors and bereaved families of victims on Saturday marked the 10th anniversary of a fatal train derailment in western Japan that took the lives of 107 people, hoping such an accident never happens again. (Kyodo)
An unusually high level of radiation has been detected at a park in Toshima Ward, Tokyo, the ward office said Thursday, prompting speculation that some kind of material has been buried there. (Japan Times)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Wednesday announced the arrest of an organized crime member believed to be behind multiple fraud scams involving fake pregnancy accusations, reports TBS News (April 23). (Tokyo Reporter)
On Thursday, police from five prefectures, including Kyoto, arrested two executives of a company operating live streaming site FC2 Live in Osaka on charges of distribution of obscene material, reports the Sankei Shimbun. (Tokyo Reporter)
A pet shop in Tokyo has been ordered to close for not maintaining a clean and safe environment for animals. It is the first time for such an order to be issued by the Tokyo metropolitan government. (Japan Today)
Kunihiko Kase, frontman of the music band "Wild Ones," was found dead at his home in Minato Ward, Tokyo, early on Tuesday. The Metropolitan Police Department is examining the cause of death, with the view the musician may have killed himself. He was 74. (The Japan News)