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.
The nation's nuclear watchdog has put the kibosh on plans by Tokyo Electric Power Co. to start freezing underground soil at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant--a stunningly expensive project intended to solve the crisis of accumulating radioactive groundwater at the site. (Asahi)
An LDP lawmaker who created a stir in conservative Japan by filing for paternity leave when his child was born now stands accused of flagrant double standards over an alleged extramarital relationship with a model. (Japan Times)
Japanese actor Ken Watanabe was diagnosed with an early-stage stomach cancer, his agent said Tuesday, adding the actor, who starred in a Broadway musical in 2015, has already undergone endoscopic surgery to remove it. (Kyodo)
The Japanese government decided at a cabinet meeting Tuesday to withdraw its recommendation of Christianity-related historic facilities and sites in Nagasaki and Kumamoto prefectures for addition to the UNESCO World Heritage List. (Jiji Press)
Following a stabbing incident that left one woman dead and another injured, Hokkaido Prefectural Police announced on Monday that a 30-year-old man is wanted in connection with the crime, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Tokyo Reporter)