Tokyo stocks extended their losing streak to five days, with the key Nikkei index losing over 2 percent amid wariness over the U.S. economy's prospects, as stronger-than-expected job openings data fueled fears of further interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.
On the currency market, the U.S. dollar was off from a one-year high above the 150 yen line overnight, after it plunged to as low as 147.30 yen in a suspected yen-buying intervention by Japanese authorities.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 711.06 points, or 2.28 percent, from Tuesday at 30,526.88, its lowest since May 17. The broader Topix index finished 56.58 points, or 2.49 percent, lower at 2,218.89.
On the top-tier Prime Market, decliners were led by transportation equipment, iron and steel and bank issues.
The U.S. dollar traded narrowly in the lower 149 yen range before falling to the upper 148-yen level in Tokyo. It rose to 150.16 yen in New York on Tuesday.
Analysts said the dollar is unlikely to rise above the 150 yen line again before the release of key U.S. employment data later this week, amid caution about whether Japanese authorities would perform a currency intervention after speculation they had done so the night before, though the finance minister declined to comment on the matter.
At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 148.84-85 yen compared with 149.04-14 yen in New York and 149.77-79 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The euro was quoted at $1.0484-0485 and 156.05-09 yen against $1.0462-0472 and 155.84-94 yen in New York, and $1.0482-0484 and 156.99-157.03 yen in Tokyo late Tuesday afternoon.
On the bond market, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bonds ended at 0.805 percent, up 0.045 percentage point from Tuesday's close and the highest level since August 2013, tracking rising long-term U.S. Treasury yields.
Stocks were sold across the board, with export-related auto and technology shares notably losing ground amid concerns about a slowdown in the world's largest economy, as long-term interest rates continued climbing, analysts said.
"Today's decline resulted from U.S. stocks going down amid rising interest rates, while the risk of a U.S. government shutdown remains as the recently agreed stopgap funding measure ends in November," said Yutaka Miura, senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.
Investors were becoming reluctant to buy shares before the release Friday of key U.S. employment data, seeking to get a clearer picture of potential future interest rate hikes by the Fed, analysts said.
"It's hard to foresee how the market will react to the upcoming U.S. employment data, making it difficult for investors to buy stocks today and tomorrow," said Shingo Ide, chief equity strategist at the NLI Research Institute.
Among export-related auto issues, Nissan Motor slipped 39.5 yen, or 6.3 percent, to 590.6 yen, and Toyota Motor shed 127.5 yen, or 4.9 percent, to 2,477.5 yen.
Banking shares were sold as investors locked in gains after recent rises, analysts said. Mizuho Financial Group dropped 113 yen, or 4.5 percent, to 2,423.5 yen, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group plunged 68.5 yen, or 5.4 percent, to 1,206.5 yen.
Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo casual clothing chain, declined 620 yen, or 1.9 percent, to 31,360 yen after reporting its September sales dropped 4.6 percent from a year earlier on a same-store basis.