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.
Japan's parliament enacted Tuesday a bill aimed at merging some constituencies for the first time in a bid to reduce vote-value disparities in the electoral system for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber. (Jiji Press)
The operator of the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant began Tuesday dismantling the cover shrouding the No. 1 reactor building, installed in the wake of the 2011 disaster to keep radioactive materials from dispersing. (Kyodo)
The pilot of a light plane that crashed into a residential area in the Tokyo suburb of Chofu on Sunday had run a pilot training firm without permission from the transport ministry, it was learned Monday. (Jiji Press)
An investigation report from a middle school in Iwate Prefecture acknowledged on Sunday that bullying is considered to have partly contributed to the suicide of a 13-year-old male student at the school earlier this month. (The Japan News)
Wakayama Prefectural Police on Saturday arrested a 64-year-old man from Osaka after the body of a woman was found in a car parked in front of a love hotel in Gobo City, reports the Asahi Shimbun (July 26). (Tokyo Reporter)
Out of nearly 6,000 applicants, 22 young women and girls emerged from the final stage of highly competitive auditions on July 25 to be the first-generation members of idol group NGT48, based in Niigata Prefecture. (Asahi)
A tooth was found inside a dish served to a customer at the restaurant inside the Prince Hotel located in Tokyo's Shinjuku district. The hotel released a statement Friday saying that an investigation is being conducted into the incident. (Japan Today)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Friday announced the arrest of an organized crime member for riding atop a portable shrine at a festival in the Asakusa district, reports TV Asahi (July 24). (Tokyo Reporter)
The polarization between weakening and steady yakuza organized crime syndicates is growing in Japan on the back of the widening rich-poor gap among them and the aging of their members, the National Police Agency said in an annual report on Friday. (Jiji Press)
It doesn't take much to set Noel Gallagher off. We are sat in a backstage portacabin at London's peculiarly ragbag Clapham Calling festival, and I've just mentioned to the former Oasis songwriter that "Chasing Yesterday," the second solo album under his High Flying Birds banner, is the U.K.'s fastest selling of the year. (Japan Times)