Tokyo stocks opened 1.41 percent lower on Thursday after falls on Wall Street and amid caution from investors ahead of the result of the Bank of Japan's first policy meeting under new leadership.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 173.98 points to 12,188.22 at the start.
"Markets are on edge, waiting for the Bank of Japan's long-awaited policy decision (expected around midday)," said Hiroichi Nishi, SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities.
"It's entirely possible that while the BoJ will make some pronouncements today over monetary policy easing, it may wait until the second central bank meeting on April 26 to do more," he said.
Investors expect the BoJ to launch aggressive policy measures under new governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who has vowed to take "bold" steps in an effort to kickstart the stuttering economy.
Many traders anticipate the BoJ is likely to introduce more easing measures.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 111.66 (0.76 percent) to 14,550.35 on Wednesday after weak economic indicators halted the market's upward momentum of recent weeks.
The dollar stayed weak after losing strength on Wednesday following disappointing reports on US jobs and the service sector.
The greenback was at 92.85 yen in early Asian trade against 92.96 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon.
The euro bought $1.2848 and 119.31 yen compared with $1.2845 and 119.43 yen in US trade.
-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article --